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HMRC internal manual

Inheritance Tax Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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Succession: Scottish Prior and Legal rights: Legal rights: Time limit for claim

Legal rights (IHTM12221) must be claimed within 20 years of the date on which they first became enforceable. If they are not claimed within this period they are lost completely. (They ‘prescribe’ under the Scottish 20 year negative prescription period.) This also means that, under the general law, the potential claimant has 20 years in which to decide whether to claim or discharge (IHTM12229) their legal rights. Normally the starting date will be the date of the death that gave rise to these rights. But, in the case of potential claimants under the age of 16 at that date, it seems that the 20 year period will run from the date on which these claimants attain age 16, Age of Legal Capacity (Scotland) Act 1991. Although there may be some doubt about this point.