Law of Succession


CommunicationProblem SolvingResearchSelf EvaluationPlanningProfessionalism


The aim of this Module is to provide the student with the fundamental knowledge, skills and practical understanding of the law of Succession and Trusts

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module the student should be able to:

1.  Explain and apply the principles of the law of Succession in Scotland in relation to testate and intestate succession;

2.  Explain and apply the principles of law in relation to Trusts and understand the uses of trusts in succession, family situations and commercial transactions;

3.  Apply those skills by drafting wills and other documents; and

4.  Demonstrate skills of comprehension, application of legal principle and reflection

Indicative Content

1 Intestate Succession

Succession in moveables and heritage; prior rights; legal rights; collation; order of succession re spouses, children, cohabitants, civil partners law reform

2 Testate Succession

Capacity and diminished capacity; execution and amendment of wills; uncertainty; revocation; subsequent births; transfer of heritage; classification of legacies; accretion; election; residue, division per capita and per stirpes; destinations-over; the unworthy heir; missing persons; common calamity; public policy considerations; and forfeiture

3 Will Substitutes

Nominations; special destinations; liferent and fee; and survivorship.

4 Trusts

Constitution; public and private; charitable trusts; uncertainty; revocability; liferents; vesting; variation; termination of trust; law reform

5 Trustees

Appointment; assumption and resignation; administration; duties; powers; breach of trust and remedies; investment powers; liability to creditors; discharge; law reform

6 Drafting and Interpretation of Wills

Words of severance and conjunction; terms; public policy considerations; prohibitions of accumulations and successive liferents; conditional institution and substitution

7 Inheritance Tax

An overview of the structure and charging of inheritance tax.

8 Adults with Incapacity

Recognition of the issues relating to elderly and other adults who are incapable of managing their affairs; Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000; continuing financial and welfare attorneys; financial and welfare guardianship; intervention orders; power to intromit with accounts; The Office of the Public Guardian in Scotland; human rights concerns; and law reform.

Statement on Teaching, Learning and Assessment

The Module is delivered by lectures and tutorials. Lectures are interactive and students are encouraged to participate. The practical computer labs require students to draft wills and develop skills of formal legal drafting and legal letter writing. Students will submit one draft as part of the portfolio. Students are expected to identify the differing voices required for effective communication used in academic legal writing and professional voices in relation to clients and legal drafting. Feedback will be provided on the drafting exercise submission during structured feedback week. The remaining portfolio items will test knowledge and understanding over the remainder of the Succession and Trusts syllabus and will use problem based questions.

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Total 200
Lecture 26
Tutorial/Seminar 13
Supervised Practical Activity 0
Unsupervised Practical Activity 0
Assessment 40
Independent 121

Guidance notes

Credit Value – The total value of SCQF credits for the module. 20 credits are the equivalent of 10 ECTS credits. A full-time student should normally register for 60 SCQF credits per semester.


We make every effort to ensure that the information on our website is accurate but it is possible that some changes may occur prior to the academic year of entry. The modules listed in this catalogue are offered subject to availability during academic year 2019/20 , and may be subject to change for future years.