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HMRC internal manual

Inheritance Tax Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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Succession: Scottish Prior and Legal rights: Example of legal rights calculations: Individual succession rights, where claims or discharges of legal rights have yet been made

Molly’s entitlement

Under the Will, Molly is due around £2,650,000, that is half of £5,400,000 less £100,000 or somewhat less (but no less than £2,250,000 - being half of the heritable estate less the legacy plus a third of the moveable estate) if legitim (IHTM12221) claims are made.

Her legal rights entitlement, on the other hand, would be £800,000 only, or a third of £2,400,000.

She can elect between the two, but cannot take both. In view of the relative values she is most likely to accept the first option.

Joan’s entitlement

As a stepchild (IHTM12252) Joan has no legal rights in George’s estate. But, she has been left a cash legacy of £100,000 free of tax, which presumably she would accept.

Mary’s entitlement

No provision has been made for Mary in the Will. But she is entitled to claim or to discharge her legal rights in the estate. Her entitlement is to a share in the legitim fund which amounts to £800,000.

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John’s entitlement

John’s position is the same as that for Mary, except that he has already received a lifetime gift (IHTM12228) of £150,000 from George. According to the circumstances surrounding this gift, its value may (or may not) need to be taken into account in calculating how much John is entitled to receive as legitim out of the estate.

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Jack and Jill’s entitlement

As their deceased father James was George’s legally adopted son, James would have been entitled to share in the legitim fund had he survived. By representation, (IHTM12253) Jack and Jill are entitled equally to the share of the legitim fund James would have been due, had he survived. Being under the age of 16 they do not have the legal capacity (IHTM12251) to come to a final decision on how to deal with their legal rights until they reach the age of 16. For Inheritance Tax purposes the provisions of IHTA84/S147 (IHTM35211) may be relevant.

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Henry’s entitlement

As Henry predeceased George, he did not acquire any legal rights in George’s estate, and as he left no children (or grandchildren) there is no-one to claim legal rights in his place by representation. The fact that Henry was illegitimate is irrelevant.