Charities, third & impact sector

Scottish charity law update

Scottish land transparency rules

Regulations have now been passed for the Register of Persons Holding a Controlled Interest in Land to come into being on 1 April 2022. This will place duties on certain landowning structures to disclose on a public register, details of those controlling the landowning entity (they are known as “associates”). The register will require details such as name, address and the capacity (e.g. trustee etc) in which the person has a controlling interest. It is mostly aimed at owners, but some tenants will have duties to provide information as well.

As with other transparency regimes, the aim is to provide details of human beings. That means the registration duties will not stop at the level of e.g. a trust or unincorporated association but ask for details of the trustees themselves. For some positions the rules involve an assessment of whether or not an individual “has the right to exercise, or who actually exercises, significant influence or control.” The emboldened part of that emphasises the rules are focussed on the realities of a relationship and not just the strict legal notion of influence or control.

The location of the entity is not relevant. So, an English structure with Scottish property interests will need to comply with the new rules.

After an initial grace period, there will be criminal penalties attaching to property owning entities which do not comply with their disclosure duties. After that period, there is 60 days from obtaining a controlling interest in which to bring the register up-to-date.

Charities that are CIOs or SCIOs will not be required to register. They form part of exemptions for bodies that are subject to “other transparency regimes”. (Although SCIOs are only subject to a limited transparency regime via OSCR.) Charitable trusts and unincorporated associations have no such exemption.

On “other transparency regimes”, entities subject to the Persons of Significant Control rules will not need to duplicate on this new register the provision of information that can be obtained via Companies House.

Legacies: a Scottish view of Knipe v The British Racing Drivers’ Motor Sport Charity

Many readers will be aware of the Knipe case. For those not aware of the facts, the background, in short, was this. The residue of an estate was to be divided among four organisations. Unfortunately, the names for two of the organisations did not match any actual charity or body. With that issue and a need to determine how the estate should be divided, the court was required.

In a Scottish context, a few high level comments can be made:-

Will drafting is important. Getting the right name of the intended recipient matters. It also matters to provide the executors with sufficient flexibility to deal with certain changes at a recipient charity or to address any misdescription. It may also be the case that there could be specific express instructions as what is to happen if e.g. a charity no longer exists… it might pass to another named charity or fall to other beneficiaries.

Will interpretation in Scotland. The Marley v Rawlings will interpretation Supreme Court decision featured in Knipe. There is short piece of passing Scottish consideration in Marley, but it is of course an English decision. Caution should be applied when seeking to use English interpretation rules as a guide to how a court might consider matters in Scotland.

General charitable intentions. In relation to one part of the residue, the court in Knipe decided that the words “Cancer Research” was sufficiently general to permit the executors to pass that part of the estate to any cancer research charity. As with Scottish will interpretation more widely, care needs to be taken as to how and when the Scottish court will conclude there was a general charitable intention which would allow a similar outcome to that in Knipe. In some ways in Scotland, it pays to be really general and get names really wrong! [We do not however recommend this approach to will drafting at all!]

Will rectification in Scotland. Since the Succession (Scotland) Act 2016 there has been the ability to apply to the court to rectify a will where the deceased’s instructions had not been properly implemented by the drafter of the will. That remedy has been used in the case of mis-naming a recipient organisation. But this rectification route is limited. It only applies to a failure in the implementation of the recording of someone’s wishes and that has been done by someone other than the deceased (e.g. a will writer).

Don’t ‘lose’ legacies before they even happen. Unlike England and Wales, Scotland does not have an equivalent of the register of mergers. When there is the restructuring of a Scottish charity, it is important to consider how future potential legacy income will be protected and secured and end up in the correct home.

Consultations on charity law and charity test guidance

We have previously updated on the current status of the review of Scottish charity law. The latest consultation round has closed. Readers might be interested to read the response from the Law Society of Scotland’s charity law sub-committee (of which we are a member) as a way of delving into the issues currently being considered. We will provide an update when Scottish Government reports back.

In light of the recent New Lanark cases (here is an overview of the decision as we had published in the Journal of the Law Society of Scotland), OSCR has issued a consultation on updates to its “Meeting the Charity Test” guidance. In particular the consultation ask for views on the section on “What is public benefit?” around the issues of assessing contributions to public benefit, including through commercial activities. The consultation and the proposed updates perhaps underline what we said of the New Lanark cases: context matters on the topic of charitable status.

Lots of politics… and then elections too!

Charities and political (or even ‘culture’, as some have described it) matters have attracted lots of attention in recent times. Whether it be the National Trust or student associations, there has been much said about charities engaging in what might be described as political or ‘controversial’ matters. In Scotland charities need to have regard to guidance from OSCR and the Electoral Commission as well as specific Scottish rules that relate to the run-up to elections. Elections for the Scottish Parliament are being held on 6 May.

And charities must also keep focussed on their constitutionally-stated purposes. It will be the purposes in their constitution, articles, trust deed, rules etc that will guide when and how the charity should engage in any issues including those viewed as political or controversial (whatever controversial really means!). For some, their purposes and their raison d’être make it vital that they engage in the political sphere… not for the benefit of politicians and their supporters but to further the charity’s aims and support its beneficiaries.

Charities (whether based in Scotland or not) must adhere to specific rules on campaigning or lobbying and must (as with rates relief cases, charitable status itself or charity tax treatments) know their purposes and keep their activities in line with their purposes… which can in some situations mean engaging in political or controversial matters.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child: Scots law incorporation

This is viewed as a landmark piece of legislation passed in March by the Scottish Parliament. In summary, the effect of this incorporation of the Convention will mean that:

  • public authorities must not act in a way that is incompatible with the Convention 
  • courts will have powers to decide if legislation is compatible with the the Convention 
  • the Scottish Government will be able to legislate in other areas to ensure Convention compatibility
  • the Children and Young People’s Commissioner in Scotland would have power to take legal action if children’s rights under the Convention are breached
  • the Scottish Government must publish, and review annually, a Children’s Rights Scheme to evidence meeting the Convention’s requirements and set out its future plans for children’s rights

Charities and third sector bodies working with children and young people should be aware of the effects of this incorporation of the Convention into Scots law.

In a late twist, UK Government queried whether or not the Bill is fully within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament. This development has emphasised the complex mix of reserved and devolved matters within Convention incorporation and care will need taken by all those interested in the workings of the new rights and duties as to how the new law will actually operate.

Redress Scotland: legislation passed

The Redress for Survivors (Historical Child Abuse in Care) (Scotland) Bill has now completed its legislative process in the Scottish Parliament. It establishes Redress Scotland to administer a scheme for payments to survivors of historical abuse in residential care settings via contributions from public bodies, charities and others. You can read our previous overview of the provisions here.

For help and advice on Scottish charity law and Scottish legal issues for charities, get in touch with Alan Eccles: / 07470808717.

He is an experienced lawyer who is very well known among sources for advising clients on charity law matters.” Chambers High Net Worth 2020

Alan is “highly experienced in advising third sector organisations” … “efficient and has a very in-depth knowledge of the Scottish charity scene” Chambers & Partners 2020

Private client

Trusts for vulnerable beneficiaries and personal injury

Don’t judge a trust by its cover and structure matters

Two key themes of the talk being:-

(1) the name of a type of trust might not always lead us to the ‘right’ answer each time; and

(2) finding a structure is often the aim and structure can come from a range of building blocks and materials.

What is ‘vulnerability’?

When considering the right solution for a vulnerable beneficiary, it is worth reflecting on the different types of ‘vulnerability’. And the extent of an individual’s vulnerability can change over time.

Age can create vulnerability. It creates risks that will differ due to the individual, the value and complexity of assets as well as family and other dynamics.

Those dynamics of influence and support can also lead to the need to protect potentially vulnerable individuals. Who can influence the beneficiary and is there positive support being given can drive decisions to create the right legal structure. Structure with the right decision-makers to protect and minimise the risks of vulnerability being exploited by certain influence(r)s. Sometimes these are influences that can be benign… until wealth becomes involved. It is an issue we see cropping up in death benefits decision-making processes.

The wealth involved can create risk. High value can cause pressure. Complex assets (including family and private business) can have risk built-in that can have negative impacts on some beneficiaries. These can also be assets that are hoped to outlive just one generation and be available to support multi-generations of a family.

The speed at which wealth is acquired is also a factor that means some need protection and structure. The lottery win, the unexpected or windfall inheritance, the compensation or insurance payment all being classic examples of where there might be little time to prepare for the positives and negatives of significant wealth. Structure can help provide a measured approach to dealing with wealth.

Disability and reduced capacity are also situations that lead to decisions on the right form of structure to best support an individual.

External ‘threats’ can also make a beneficiary vulnerable. Threats can come from other people in a family (even spouses/civil partners and cohabitants) as well as outwith the family such as business and creditor risk.

Why use trusts for ‘vulnerable’ beneficiaries?

Trusts are a great and familiar way to create structure. A great way to create a robust decision-making framework. And while they can be a strong structure, they also have significant and useful flexibilities.

Trusts can put a suitable amount of armour-plating around wealth. A trust stops beneficiaries demanding assets and stops external factors trying to attack trust assets.

It is fair that trusts have been the most popular type of structure, but they are not the only option. Companies and partnerships have come into a bit of vogue since the tax rules changed for trusts in 2006. But it is interesting that when other structures are used, the aim is to mimic trusts-like characteristics of control and flexibility with that sprinkle of armour-plating.

The trusts smörgåsbord

There is quite a lot to choose from on this buffet cart. A wide range of types of trusts all with the particular points and tax treatments. We might want the flexibility of a discretionary trust, the simplicity and tax neutrality of a bare trust or the special tax status of some trusts.

We also need to be careful of the nomenclature used. A ‘personal injury trust’ does not exist as a separate legal or tax entity. The type of trust used will fall into the legal and tax category of how the trust is drafted. But saying that, the source of the trust fund (from a personal injury) can be relevant to some aspects of how the trust is treated.

As noted above (and a bit more below), sometimes the structure we need comes from something other than a trust.

Tax treatments for “vulnerable persons”

This is often the set of rules that are first hit upon when looking at tax in this area. “Vulnerable persons” can benefit from an election. This election applies to income and capital gains tax.

Consideration need to be given to (1) whether or not there is a vulnerable person, (2) the terms of the trust involved and (3) the cost/benefit analysis in tax and administration terms to making the election. Just because the phrase “vulnerable persons” is used does not mean the election needs to or should be made.

Inheritance tax rules

In many cases this is the one everyone is interested in. And there is sometimes the anticipation that the rules will offer a ‘tax free’ trusts solution.

The Inheritance Tax Act, and with its 2006 updates, provides particular tax treatments for certain types of trusts for disabled persons. Where there is a qualifying trust for a disabled person, there are two big inheritance tax points: (1) it is treated as a potentially exempt transfer; and (2) there are no periodic (ten year) and exit charges.

There are a few variants of the disabled person’s interest trust. One constant is there lack of flexibility in respect of other beneficiaries. There are (since 2013) quite strict limits on the extent of any benefit passing to a non-disabled person beneficiary. The policy underpinning that is quite understandable though.

And while there might be no tax on the way ‘in’ or during the life of the trust, consideration needs to be given to the trust taxation on the death of the disabled person. On that topic, one anomaly that has been addressed is the uplift for capital gains tax purposes.

So, for inheritance tax, it is the fact it is not a chargeable lifetime transfer into the discretionary trust regime that is the major advantage.

What is the aim?

The income and capital gains tax benefits of an election might not always be worth it. The inheritance tax rules are helpful, but care still need to be taken with navigating the tax treatment of these trusts. So, it means that if there is e.g. a disabled person, the answer might not always be a disabled person’s interest trust if too much is ‘lost’ in terms of flexibility and not enough is gained in tax advantage. On the latter, the value to be transferred to trust could be critical.

“Reasonable provision for care and maintenance” and inheritance tax

Where there is “reasonable provision for care and maintenance” being made for a “dependent relative” there is a useful exemption for inheritance tax purposes. As with the normal expenditure out of income (“NEOI”) exemption, this is one that can enable a significant transfer to be made. It is neither a PET or chargeable lifetime transfer, but an immediately exempt transfer. As with NEOI rules, there is no exact science to it. The question will be around what is “reasonable provision”. This exemption can apply to outright gifts and transfers to trust. The rules cover part of a trusts being used for this purposes and also what happens if the fund is no longer being used for “care and maintenance” of the “dependent relative”.

Structure following a death

So far we have focused on lifetime trusts and structures. Wills can often usefully be the basis for ongoing trusts.

Death might also be the point that trust structures from other sources come into being, including from death benefits and life policies.

Following a death but very much part of the planning for supporting a vulnerable beneficiary is legal rights. For a variety of reasons (from proper management through to benefits) legal rights entitlements will need to be managed and potentially minimised. There will also be considerations for attorneys and guardians in dealing with legal rights on behalf of a vulnerable individual. The right use of trusts during life and in a will might be very helpful for an attorney or guardian to make the appropriate decisions.

A discretionary trusts in a will also provide an opportunity to consider the appropriate longer term trust structure taking account of the prevailing circumstances at the time of death. With the two year rule applying to them, they also offer a chance to pause for breath before final decisions are taken.

For completeness, pensions might also be in the mix to create the right structures for holding wealth for vulnerable beneficiaries.

Personal injury trusts

These get perhaps the most attention. They have the brand awareness, as such. But remember, as noted above, they do not exist in a separate or distinct legal or tax category. The appropriate type of trust needs to be used. There will however be layered on top of that rules about the fact the trust fund derives from an injury (personal or via criminal injury compensation).

The two highlight rules to consider are:- (1) the 52 week benefits disregard; and (2) the impact on residential care charging (CRAG). Care needs taken with both rules and any myths about them (e.g. you do not have a limit of 52 weeks to set up a trust). In many cases, the early consideration of the use a trust should be made due to how the disregards do in fact work.

Putting your trust in something

Where an individual is ‘vulnerable’ for whatever reason, trusts can be a powerful legal tool. The right type of trust can help create a strong decision-making structure, with appropriate asset protection characteristics, sufficient flexibility and the optimum fiscal and tax treatments. But thought is needed and the ‘Ronseal approach’ to trust selection might not always lead to the best results.

For help and advice on trusts and structures for vulnerable beneficiaries, get in touch with Alan Eccles: / 07470808717.

“An experienced lawyer” who is “a superb strategist and is extremely knowledgeable”. Chambers High Net Worth 2020 directory

Alan Eccles is “one of the leaders in private client expertise in Scotland.” Chambers High Net Worth 2019 directory

Alan Eccles… a Legal Influencer for Private Client (UK) – Lexology Marketing Awards

Charities, third & impact sector Private client

Budget and estate planning: safe to go back into the water?

The Chancellor has announced the Budget. Here is an initial overview focussed on personal estate planning.

Brrrr… it’s freezing!

On UK income tax, the personal allowance will rise as trailed to £12,570 from April 2021. The higher rate will kick in at £50,270 from April 2021, again as planned. However, these will then freeze until April 2026. Remember on non-savings and non-dividend income different rates will apply for Scottish taxpayers, which we covered in our Scottish Budget update.

On inheritance tax, nil rate bands will remain at current levels until April 2026. The ‘normal’ nil rate band will continue at £325,000, the residence nil rate band (horrible concept, but a tax free amount is still nice) will continue at £175,000, and the residence nil rate band taper will continue to start at £2 million. We have discussed before how not to lose the benefit of the residence nil rate band where the estate is currently over the £2m level.

There has been a lot of talk about capital gains tax reform. Nothing significant was announced today. However, the annual exempt amount will remain at the current £12,300 for humans and for trusts it stays at £6,150 (subject to the number of trusts). More on capital taxes reform below.

Other limits on ice are the pension lifetime allowance (£1,073,100 until 2026), starting savings band of £5,000, ISA subscription limit of £20,000 and Junior ISA and Child Trust Fund at £9,000.

Rishi Raises Rates… of corporation tax

This seemed in the offing. The previous decision to halt the drop to 17% perhaps signaled a retreat into the pack of international corporation tax rates.

Today, we heard that the headline rate of corporation tax will be increased to 25% from April 2023. There will however be the continued 19% as a ‘small profits rate’ for companies with profits under £50,000. The new rates will work so that business with profits above £250,000 will pay the full 25%. It should be noted that ‘close investment holding companies’, however, will pay the full 25% rate irrespective of their profit level.

We’re all going on a (stamp duty) holiday… well, no

The Budget announced the stamp duty holiday will continue until 30 June. After that a mini-break will be in place until the end of September (£250,000).

But remember this is for Stamp Duty Land Tax and not LBTT for Scotland. The Scottish stamp duty holiday is still scheduled to end at the end of March. Of course, with the Scottish Budget being proposals, there is still room for change here, but it did not look likely when Kate Forbes made her January announcement. There were points in the Scottish finance secretary’s speech which were waiting for the UK Budget to adopt a final position, but this did not seem to be one of them. It has now been announced [on 4 March] that there will be no extension to the LBTT holiday and it will end as planned at the end of March.

Tax nudged investments and charities

Good news as Social Investment Tax Relief is to remain in place until April 2023. Otherwise a quiet Budget for charities, which might disappoint some.

On pensions, there was also a trailer of potential future greater investment flexibility in order to fund “innovative new ventures”. The FCA are to look at this.

Tax Avoidance not being avoided

Rishi Sunak announced commitments on tacking tax avoidance. This will include the outcomes of the consultation on ‘Tackling Promoters of Tax Avoidance’.

Capital taxes reform… all quiet?

As we mentioned above, there has been much said about capital taxes reform, particularly in respect of capitals gains tax. But nothing came today.

So, we can just work on the basis that all settled then?

The answer to that is likely to be ‘no’. We await the next instalments in the Office of Tax Simplification’s work. There have been parliamentary reports calling for change to capital taxes… CGT and inheritance tax as well as pension tax relief. The OTS had tweeted recently saying it was still working on CGT but nothing would happen before the Budget. We have also had discussion around a Wealth Tax to stoke the capital taxes debate. Interestingly, no one-off wealth or profits taxes in the Budget. Perhaps a mixture of politics and how the pandemic ‘debt’ is actually being covered.

We need to stay alert on capital tax reform. There could be change. And there might not be the lead-in time that has been given on the corporation tax increases.

Make plans while we know the current rules would seem a good message to takeaway in the current climate.

Roll on Tax Day!

Get 23 March in the diary. Today is not the only day of tax fun this month. Rather than a Budget ‘omni-shambles’ (the one of 2012), there is to be an omni-consultation on tax matters towards the end of the month on one single mega day. Can’t wait!

For help and advice on succession planning and related issues get in touch with Alan Eccles: / 07470808717.

“An experienced lawyer” who is “a superb strategist and is extremely knowledgeable”. Chambers High Net Worth 2020 directory

Alan Eccles is “one of the leaders in private client expertise in Scotland.” Chambers High Net Worth 2019 directory

Alan Eccles… a Legal Influencer for Private Client (UK) – Lexology Marketing Awards

Charities, third & impact sector

Handforth: a new focus on old truths for good meetings

Remember the start of lockdown(s) when it was all Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin. Handforth Parish Council gave us new cast members for stay at home viewing. A lot has been said about online meetings since the Handforth planning and environment committee brought global attention to the topic of formal meeting effectiveness and governance.

However, for charities conducting meetings (whether of trustees or a membership), the message largely remains the same as what we said in a blog on 4 May 2020. We have returned to some of that in this piece. Even though based on charities, we think that blog could have helped the Handforth committee.

If you read nothing of this blog, we think this comment from our May 2020 blog is worth holding on to:-

Robust and well-developed governance structures and processes are great. But sometimes strong governance is rooted in basics. Good manners, understanding and kindness might be the key touchstones for effective meetings and good decision-making. Certainly, they will support the collective responsibility attached to board decisions. In stressful times and with new technology being used, understanding and kindness with meetings underpinned by politeness and warmth could be never more important.

Read the standing orders – read them and understand them

While others can comment on the specific rules applicable to that committee and the local authority context, it is critical to the legitimacy of any meeting that:-

  • it is called and arranged correctly (in “accordance with the law” as some might put it);
  • those participating in a meeting are indeed permitted to be there;
  • it is clear the basis upon which participants can contribute and vote etc; and
  • there is clarity over how the meeting is started (Handforth offered the new existential conundrum for our times… has the meeting even started?) and ‘run’.

The charity’s constitution should set out rules and provisions for these key steps and processes. There might also be other standing orders to look at too.

On the running of the meeting, how the meeting is chaired is central. That includes having clarity over who is the chair and how a chair is selected. In the Zoom world, that also leads into having clear and agreed protocols on:-

Who is the host? That leads in to clarity over some other powers, such as:-

  • Who has the power of muting/unmuting?
  • Who has the (now famous) power to place a participant in a waiting room?
  • How do participants indicate they wish to contribute?

The contra to who can attend is keeping out those who should not be there. Passwords, waiting rooms, not sharing links etc are all part of that safety and security. It is also part of safeguarding.

Can or should the meeting be recorded? That brings in considerations such as data protection and confidentiality.

What should then happen with that recording? How is it stored?

How are minutes of the meeting taken and agreed? It seems a reading of the minutes of the Handforth meeting does not quite give the flavour that the video did!

Ultimately, everyone needs to comfortable on how the process and technology is to work.

You have no authority here…

You have not authority here…” is partly covered by the constitution and its rules on attendance and anticipation at meetings, as noted above.

Over and above strict legal standing to attend a meeting, there is also the softer issue of those at the meeting having ‘bought-in’ to any external participants. Without that, the meeting could be difficult. The “you have no authority here…” might not just have been about strict legal conduct of a meeting but something deeper into a form of perceived power relationship as if to say “you have no authority over me.”

It can also be unfortunate that these difficulties are sometimes accelerated where there is some degree of underlying factionalism in the group. As ever, that brings us to key charity trustee duties of acting in the ‘interests of the charity’ and working to ‘further its purposes’ (we recognise these terms can on occasion be weaponised) and to act on a collective basis. Understanding the collective nature of decision-making is a fundamental aspect and dangerous to overlook.

#BeKind and “don’t look back in anger”

The Handforth meeting did not go brilliantly. Even the sequel meeting (apparently quite a popular watch!) had its tensions.

As we said earlier, “Good manners, understanding and kindness might be the key touchstones for effective meetings and good decision-making.” We guess that at Handforth or anywhere else, people are joining committees and charity boards for the right reasons. It must only be a tiny proportion who are actually not nice and want to hurt and harm people in what they do and say at a meeting.

Sometimes people will get hot under the collar or stressed or have a rush of adrenaline. They need to appreciate they may have failed to act with good manners. Others in the meeting should not stoke such behaviour. There needs to be, within the bounds of reason (but remember, we don’t think many people are actually at a meeting to ‘be bad’ or that the person ‘is bad’), understanding of why that person is upset and acting as they have done. Both ‘sides’ of any tricky moment need to act with kindness towards each other. Of course, there does comes a point with any disruption. And the credibility and impact of contributions made when tinged with any anger etc will also be undermined. Everyone feeling they have had the proper chance to contribute and have been treated with respect will support post-decision board unity. It will help minimise unfortunate post-meeting fallout and temptations to breach confidentiality and collective responsibility in order to rail against a decision.

All this might create “a better place to play” and will have “take[n] that look from off your face” so you won’t think of the meeting and “look back in anger“. The words of Oasis; not Handforth Parish Council planning and environment committee.

For help and advice on charity law and governance, get in touch with Alan Eccles: / 07470808717.

He is an experienced lawyer who is very well known among sources for advising clients on charity law matters.” Chambers High Net Worth 2020

Alan is “highly experienced in advising third sector organisations” … “efficient and has a very in-depth knowledge of the Scottish charity scene” Chambers & Partners 2020

Private client

Larry King’s estate: lots to talk about

The late veteran US chat show host, Larry King’s estate looks like it is going to be the subject of challenge and dispute.

Reports indicate his wife, Shawn Southwick King has been excluded from his will. That will is a handwritten will. Mrs Southwick King has also alleged that the will, made in 2019 and revoking a 2015 will, was made under the undue influence of Mr King’s son – her step-son – and with “questionable mental capacity”.

The 2019 will divides his estate among his five children. Since making the will, two of those children have passed away. Mrs Southwick King and Mr King were reported to be divorcing at the time of his death.

Larry King’s estate dispute will play out in California, we understand. If we transported the situation to Scotland, what would be the key succession law rules and considerations? Let’s have a look.

Disinheriting a spouse

As a high level statement, you cannot disinherit a spouse/civil partner in Scotland. While the King estate focusses on the disinheritance of a spouse, you also cannot disinherit children in Scotland. Scotland has a form of forced heirship via ‘legal rights’.

Here is a summary of the Scottish rules on disinheritance.

You cannot opt out of these legal rights entitlements simply by making a will. These rights apply irrespective of the terms of the will and legal rights rank ahead of what the will says. Legal rights are bit like a debt on the estate.

If a deceased is survived by a spouse/civil partner and children, the spouse/civil partner is entitled to one-third of the net ‘moveable‘ (more on ‘moveable’ below) estate and the children, as a group, are similarly entitled to a one-third share.

If a deceased is survived by only a spouse/civil partner, then the spouse/civil partner is entitled to one-half of the net moveable estate.

If a deceased is survived by only children, then the surviving child/children is entitled to one-half of the net moveable estate.

It is also worth noting that a legal rights entitlement is one of cash. The positive is does not necessitate a forced break-up or sharing of assets, but it might create a pressure to fund the cash requirement.

Those entitled can also take their time to decide what to do. If someone entitled legal rights felt they were receiving too little from the estate, they might simply prefer to cause some nuisance. They can wait 20 years to make a decision(!) and all that time the estate needs to be ready to settle the entitlement should it be asserted.

The moveable estate is essentially all assets excluding land and buildings. Care should be taken with land that is held in a company as it will be treated as moveable. Partnership agreements should also be reviewed to confirm how land held in a partnership is to be treated for legal rights purposes. In some cases it will be important to not accidentally and unthinkingly enlarge the amounts that someone is entitled to under legal rights by restructuring land and buildings into a company.

While the will cannot knock-out the effect of legal rights, it is possible for someone to take action during life to minimise or avoid legal rights. That requires thought and advice to navigate estate planning where someone’s legal rights would ‘get in the way’ of how one wishes their estate to be divided.

The ‘danger zone’: rights during separation but before divorce

Until a couple are divorced, the Scottish rights of a spouse remain. This can impact on succession points such as legal rights, wills, death benefits and house title deeds.

Some of these can only be addressed by divorce itself or agreement (e.g. a separation agreement). Some will be in each party’s sole control.

If separating or thinking about separating, as well as family law issues, what happens in the event of death before divorce needs early and active consideration. An untimely death could lead to a spouse/civil partner and even a cohabitant benefiting when that would the last thing in the world you would want to happen.

Of course, you also need to consider the terms of any pre or post-nuptial agreement.

Handwritten wills

In Scotland whether a will is handwritten (sometimes referred to as ‘holograph’) or typed is, for wills after 1 August 1995, irrelevant. The same rules apply whatever the form of the document. The purported will must meet certain requirements in terms of how it signed. As an aside, be wary what you are signing and how… the rules for valid signing in Scotland are quite different from those in England and the form of the document might lead you to sign incorrectly.

As well as being signed correctly, a will needs to be, well, your will. It needs to be a clear decision to decide what happens with your estate. It has to direct what happens. It has to be a final formed direction. Thoughts, wishes, instruction to make a will would not amount to a will, irrespective of how it is signed.

The form of document used does not matter. A 2015 Scottish case involved a diary entry found to be a valid will. A case with a sad background as the diary entry opened “Life is sh*t at this time!!!“. So, whether a professionally produced document, self-typed, handwritten note, diary entry, napkin or origami swan, the rules are the same. A clear direction as to what is to happen to your estate and signed correctly is necessary whatever the form of writing.

Oh.. and its does need to be writing in the traditional sense… purely electronic means or text messages etc would not cut the mustard for a valid will in Scotland.

Predeceasing children

The news reports say that the 2019 King will seeks to benefit all five children. Two have passed away. What happens to their share? Well, as a quick overview, the will document matters on what it says must happen next. It might say that such a share is held for the next generation of a deceased child. It might pass the share among the other beneficiaries. There is some default law here to consider as well. Law which has been updated in recent years.

There is also the risk that the will works in a way that there is no ‘home’ for the predeceasing child’s share in terms of the will. If that happens, that part of the estate falls into intestacy. Then the intestacy rules decide who inherits rather than it being your choice under the will. As a general rule of thumb, relying on the intestacy rules is usually a bad strategy.

Too much too young? Another advantage of a good will is including trust provisions to protect younger beneficiaries while having suitable flexibility in managing those funds.

Undue influence and lack of capacity to make a will

Headline grabbing points to end on. Undue influence and lack of capacity are challenges also available in Scotland. If successful, an otherwise valid will is invalid and set aside.

These challenges strike at the ‘essential’ validity of the document. That the deceased was unable to make any will or the facts show that someone was influencing them to make the will in a particular form. Undue influence often sits alongside its bedfellow, “facility and circumvention”. In short, that is a challenge based on positively taking advantage of someone’s vulnerability.

These are nuclear challenges. If successful, the struck-at will falls always. The previous last valid will or, if no will, the laws intestacy then governs the estate. As well as different beneficiaries, there may well also be different executors administering and managing the estate.

Challenges as to capacity and undue influence are not easy to make out. Clear evidence from the time the will was made are needed to base the challenge.

For help and advice on making a will or challenging a will, get in touch with Alan Eccles: / 07470808717.

“An experienced lawyer” who is “a superb strategist and is extremely knowledgeable”. Chambers High Net Worth 2020 directory

Alan Eccles is “one of the leaders in private client expertise in Scotland.” Chambers High Net Worth 2019 directory

Alan Eccles… a Legal Influencer for Private Client (UK) – Lexology Marketing Awards

Charities, third & impact sector

Telephones and charity fundraising on Radio Scotland’s Kaye Adams Programme

Last Thursday I joined the Kaye Adams Programme on Radio Scotland to discuss charity donations. The segment came on the back of research showing a 159% increase in cold calling during the pandemic. There were concerns and anecdotal evidence (reported in the Times) that some of this increase related to charities seeking donations over the telephone and risks of this affecting older and vulnerable individuals.

The research does not appear to provide actual numbers identifying the extent to which charities have been engaging in such practices. Whatever the extent of this, the Kaye Adams Programme gave an opportunity to hear from those in the sector about the matter, to give an overview of the regulatory background and also to highlight that charities seek to positively build long term relationships with donors rather than one-off cold calling.

The discussion began with Daniel Fluskey of the Chartered Institute of Fundraising noting he would need to see further detail on the research as he would be surprised if charities were engaging in cold calling as it was not normal practice. Daniel highlighted that such behaviour would be contrary to rules and standards in fundraising. He was also unaware of increases in complaints to regulators in this regard, which would be indicative of issues. Daniel was clear any such targeting had no place in fundraising and encouraged those with concerns to contact regulators.

Kaye appreciated the pressures on the charity sector recently and the need to reposition fundraising efforts. With that, Corinne Hutton of charity, Finding Your Feet talked of the initial concerns about the impact of the pandemic on fundraising for the charity but said it never once crossed her mind to use cold calling.

Corinne said the key is to build a relationship with the public and donors. For her, creating pressure and guilt could never be part of fundraising. Instead, it was about showing the good things a charity was doing as the basis to encourage support. Following on from Kaye mentioning that charities have had to reposition fundraising in recent times, Corinne discussed the creativity that has been required recently to engage with supporters under the current restrictions, including through fundraising walks and step challenges. But definitely not cold calling! That creativity, the generosity of the supporters and hard work of two team members working on grant applications at Finding Your Feet had helped navigate the last year. Later on in the programme, Corinne said it was about showcasing what a charity does well and gave the example of Children in Need doing this very effectively.

Then it was my turn to join the programme. I started by saying fundraising is part of the overall good governance of a charity. A good governance approach to fundraising being one that builds the longer term relationship with donors. Charities will want to create effective fundraising strategies and not short fixes like cold calling, which good governance would lead a charity to shy away from. I talked about that long term relationship building being epitomised in the strength and importance of legacy giving through wills.

Kaye said there was a concerned text to the programme about correspondence found by a relative from a charity about increasing donations. I gave examples of charities proactively identifying and dealing with issues on potentially vulnerable individuals. And dealing with these situations in order to generally protect the individual such as engaging with family. I also offered a reminder of routes to raise concerns in Scotland: contact the charity; the role of the Scottish Fundraising Standards Panel and OSCR.

A difficult ‘juncture’ was raised by Kaye where charity communications and updates meet placing some degree of pressure on individuals. Even where the communications were well-intentioned. In my view that brought us back to good governance and ensuring teams within charities and those helping charities with communications and marketing understood what was appropriate and acceptable. And with that good governance is the focus on trustee responsibility… trustees need to ensure fundraising practices are appropriate, including where anything is outsourced.

Adam Stachura of Age Scotland concluded things. He made the point that people are generally polite and do not want to hang up on those calling them. Adam reminded listeners that they can say ‘no’ to anyone calling them about any matter and that they can opt out of being called. On that last point, Adam also referenced the role of the Telephone Preference Service, call blocking devices and Trading Standards. All of this would help ensure people were making decisions, including supporting charities, when they had the information and time they needed to make a good decision.

At this blog, we are fans on telephone based songs. Who doesn’t like ELO? But it seems from those joining Kaye that the charity sector has been listening to Telephone by Lady Gaga (featuring Beyonce): “… eh, eh stop telephonin’ me” already appear to be watchwords on effective and appropriate fundraising.

The playback of the discussion can be found here on BBC Sounds… at 2:33:20.

For help and advice on charity law as well as maters such as powers of attorney and other legal support for vulnerable individuals, get in touch with Alan Eccles: / 07470808717.

He is an experienced lawyer who is very well known among sources for advising clients on charity law matters.” Chambers High Net Worth 2020

Alan is “highly experienced in advising third sector organisations” … “efficient and has a very in-depth knowledge of the Scottish charity scene” Chambers & Partners 2020

Alan Eccles is “one of the leaders in private client expertise in Scotland.” Chambers High Net Worth 2019 directory

Charities, third & impact sector

Trading, charitable status, ice-cream and hotels: context matters

This update considers a recent decision of the Court of Session on the application of the Scottish charity test in the context of New Lanark. A case that might be seen to make no change to Scottish charity law while at the same time being significant in focussing attention on the Scottish charity test. A likely reason for charitable status being desired in he New Lanark situation is also worth considering… the matter of Scottish non-domestic rates.

New Lanark is a famous UNESCO World Heritage site. New Lanark Trust (“NLT”) manages the site. There is also New Lanark Trading Limited (“NL Trading”) which runs activities including visitor attraction, hydro scheme, retail shop, café, and ice cream production. As well as NLT, there is New Lanark Hotels Limited (“NLH”) which, as the name suggest, operates a hotel and other accommodation as well as conference centre, bar and restaurant, wedding venue, beauty treatments and spa. NL Trading and NLH are wholly owned subsidiaries of NLT.

NLT is a registered Scottish charity. It has been recognised as a charity for some time. For those that know and have visited New Lanark that would seem wholly uncontroversial. NLT is the guardian of an important heritage site. NLT’s charitable purposes are stated (per the online Scottish Charity Register) to include:  “(a) the restoration, maintenance and management of those buildings and others in and around New Lanark… (b) securing so far as possible that buildings restored by the Trust shall be occupied and/or put to use with the aim of bringing about the complete revitalisation of the village of New Lanark; (c) stimulating public interest both national and international in the village of New Lanark and its surroundings by means of exhibitions, lectures, the publishing of books and pamphlets supporting research work and by the provision of facilities for visitors in and/or near the village… .” (my emphasises)

NL Trading and NLH apply for charitable status

NL Trading and NLH each separately applied for charitable status from OSCR. OSCR refused to grant charitable status to both. This was on the ground that NL Trading and NLH did not provide public benefit within the terms of the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005. A failure to provide public benefit means a body fails the Scottish charity test.

OSCR accepted that some of the activities of these bodies advanced charitable purposes and provided public benefit, but considered that some did not. Those that did not were not incidental, which would have been permissible. OSCR also said that there is a distinction between advancing charitable purposes and undertaking activities which happen to generate funds to be applied for charitable purposes. OSCR concluded that there was no public benefit arising from the activities of these bodies as a whole.

NL Trading and NLH applied to the First-tier Tribunal to challenge the OSCR decisions. The First-tier Tribunal agreed with OSCR.

Undeterred, NL Trading and NLH appealed to the Upper Tribunal. This was on the basis that the First-tier Tribunal had “failed to provide proper, adequate and intelligible reasons” for its decision. This time, the Upper Tribunal sided with NL Trading and NLH. As the Upper Tribunal was making a decision of new, it decided that NL Trading and NLH should be entered into the Scottish Charity Register.

OSCR then appealed to the Inner House of the Court of Session. It has now reached its decision. It has rejected OSCR’s appeal and upheld the Upper Tribunal’s conclusion that NL Trading and NLH should be granted charitable status.

The Court of Session decision

The Court of Session was considering the Upper Tribunal’s decision and whether it not it had erred in law. It was not revisiting the factual conclusions it reached.

In rehearsing the history of the case, the Court of Session noted that the Upper Tribunal concluded (and agreed by OSCR and NL Trading and NLH) a body could not pass the charity test on the basis simply that it would donate any surplus to a charity to apply it for chartable purposes. It was necessary that the activities (which in this case happened to be commercial in nature – charities can be ‘commercial’) of NL Trading and NLH were themselves providing public benefit in terms of the 2005 Act. And in looking at those activities, it should be done as a whole.

OSCR’s position before the Upper Tribunal was that commercial activities could be acceptable for charitable status where (1) they directly furthered a charitable purpose or (2) they were incidental. The court referred to the Upper Tribunal conclusion that this view “missed the point of the argument” from NL Trading and NLH: “that in the overall setting of New Lanark the commercial activity in itself amounted to a public benefit.” If an activity furthered charitable purposes and provided public benefit, it did not matter that the funds raised might be donated to another charity. It would then not be appropriate or necessary to carry out a balancing exercise to determine which of the two aims (raise funds for another charity or furthering the body’s own charitable purposes) was the more important. OSCR and NL Trading and NLH did accept that a “minor or trivial contribution to the charitable purposes” would be insufficient for charitable status.

The Court of Session decision highlighted a part of the Upper Tribunal’s findings: “It is a crucial feature of the New Lanark site that it is not merely preserved, but maintained as a living village so that visitors may, so far as practicable, experience the original concept… At New Lanark the availability of commercial facilities to visitors is, on the evidence, an integral part of the presentation, contributing to the experience which has given the site its reputation and thereby providing pubic benefit.

Accordingly, the commercial activities furthered an appreciation and understanding of the original aims of New Lanark’s founders, David Dale and Richard Arkwright and then Robert Owen to create a living and viable community at New Lanark. The activities of NL Trading and NLH were to be classified as “primary purpose trading” as they directly contributed to the body achieving its charitable purposes… a revitalised, viable New Lanark. The Upper Tribunal was entitled to reach that factual conclusion.

The role of OSCR guidance was discussed in the case. OSCR has obligations to issue guidance. It has published guidance on “Meeting the Charity Test.” It was decided that OSCR guidance is not determinative of the legal interpretation of the 2005 Act. It was noted that the Upper Tribunal decision was made in accordance with the guidance. The Upper Tribunal considered that the commercial activities were an example of primary purpose trading. Reaching a conclusion that hotel accommodation and spa/beauty treatment facilities were also activities designed to further charitable purposes and provide public benefit so as to “enhance the presentation of New Lanark as a living village” and allowed “visitors to immerse themselves more fully” and show the buildings “being occupied in a useful way which contributed to maintaining the village’s life and economy.” Ice cream production was noted as also “contribut[ing] to the presentation of the village as a functioning entity.” It is understood that ice cream production had previously be carried out through a standalone company before being transferred to NL Trading.

Context was everything here. One might have arrived at a different outcome if each activity was looked at in isolation. But that would not be right approach. The court also ended by saying “Another tribunal might have reached a different decision, but standing the evidence and the acceptance of the uniqueness of the village, and the aim of presenting it as a living, working community, the Upper Tribunal was entitled to make the findings which it did.

Why this case matters and what next

OSCR status and rates relief

Charitable status matters. It has various financial and ‘softer’, yet valuable benefits. Often, the tax benefits of charitable status are highlighted. Charities can receive donations with the benefit of Gift Aid. Charities can have a primary purpose trade and not pay corporation tax on that trade. That latter one is less relevant for New Lanark as profits of NL Trading and NLH would be donated to NLT and the corporation tax should be ‘washed out’ by doing that.

Gift Aid and corporation tax is an HMRC recognised benefit. OSCR charitable status is not sufficient. Indeed, it is possible (although very, very unusual to obtain the benefits without OSCR registration) However, for non-domestic rates relief, OSCR granting charitable status is a vital factor. The buildings used by NL Trading and NLH will now be in a position to seek to benefit from charities rates relief and that could be very valuable – perhaps the real prize in a case like this. Indeed the 2019 accounts for NLT notes the negative “impact of the loss of business rates relief [being] felt” on NLH’s financial performance. Unless the charitable status case has any further procedure, the next port of call will be the application of rates relief.

Implications for charitable status

The Court of Session stressed that the Upper Tribunal arrived at its conclusion in accordance with the OSCR guidance on “Meeting the Charity Test”. A decision therefore made on the basis that the activities of NL Trading and NLH furthered charitable purposes and provided public benefit. So, no change to what we all already understood perhaps? The position remains that ‘simply’ generating funds for a charitable purpose is not enough to base charitable status.

The New Lanark situation does however provide another opportunity to consider what is ‘charitable’ under Scots law and how a range of apparently non-charitable activities can further a charitable purpose. While New Lanark might be a unique place, the issue of apparently non-charitable activities being the basis for a charity is really quite common. The grant giving-charity that spends much of its time and costs on the activity of investment fund management could have the same analysis applied. What matters is having only a charitable purpose(s) and providing public benefit. It is then up to ingenuity of the sector to come up with ways and activities to further those purposes and deliver public benefit. Sometimes those activities could look or be ‘commercial’. There is nothing in principle wrong with that. The 2005 Act does not set out a test based on carrying out some form of defined or exhaustive notion of “charitable activities”… and frankly nor should it.

The phrasing of a charity’s constitutionally stated purposes is important: if NLT did not have “revitalisation” in its constitution, would there have been a different outcome? Purposes in articles of association and constitutions often prove to be critical. A 2019 Scottish charity rates relief case was an example of that.

The procedure in this case probably had an impact on what has happened and the wider implications of the decision. The appeal to the Upper Tribunal was focussed. And the Court of Session did note that “another tribunal might have reached a different decision“. It was said that New Lanark village has a “uniqueness“. Quite true in many respects. However, it could be that other charitable projects can point to their own factual situation to support charitable status despite the activities, when looked at in isolation or at ‘first blush’, appearing to be non-charitable. The application of the principles in the New Lanark case might not be unique. But that is, in part, due to the findings in New Lanark being that the activities in question did further charitable purposes and provide pubic benefit… even the making of ice-cream.

For help and advice on charity law, get in touch with Alan Eccles: / 07470808717.

He is an experienced lawyer who is very well known among sources for advising clients on charity law matters.” Chambers High Net Worth 2020

Alan is “highly experienced in advising third sector organisations” … “efficient and has a very in-depth knowledge of the Scottish charity scene” Chambers & Partners 2020

Private client

Scottish Budget… and looking ahead to 3 March

The Scottish Budget was today outlined by Finance Secretary, Kate Forbes. A Budget that naturally focussed on covid issues. Here is an overview of some key fiscal points coming out of the Budget. And a look ahead to 3 March when the Chancellor will set out the next UK Budget.

Holiday’s over… on ‘stamp duty’

As timetabled, the ‘stamp duty holiday’ will end on 31 March. From 1 April, the rates on residential property Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (“LBTT”) will return to their previous position. The Additional Dwelling Supplement (“ADS”) is to remain at 4%.


On ADS, it was announced that a consultation will be carried out early in the next parliament to address perceived anomalies in its operation.

First time buyer relief will remain with us. This takes the LBTT nil rate band to £175,000 for first time buyers.

Non-residential LBTT rates will stay as they are.

Income Tax… no change on rates and bands

Apart from the highest rate, which remains at £150,000, the other bands will increase with inflation as expected.

However, the planned  ‘effective Personal Allowance’ of £12,750 by the end of this parliamentary term has been shelved given wider (i.e. covid-related) priorities.



Business rates is a topic that until the pressures on the retail sector and then covid was not given the attention it perhaps deserved.

It was announced today that retail, hospitality, leisure and aviation sectors will continue to receive 100% business rates for at least three months (to 30 June 2021). Any further extensions will depend on actions at a UK level.

More generally on non-domestic rates, the Budget brings a reduction in the basic poundage to 49p.

Now to 3 March… time to plan

As Kate Forbes opened today, some decisions of Scottish Government will depend on UK level decisions and the UK Budget. That Budget had been postponed from the slated late 2020 timing. But it will be with us on 3 March.

There could be tax changes in that Budget. And there are legal steps in solutions that individuals and others might want to take ahead of 3 March to plan for change.

Time is ticking, but the tools in e.g. trust and company law could be very useful to deploy to estate plan with potential reforms in the mix.

For help and advice on succession planning and related issues (for 3 March or otherwise) get in touch with Alan Eccles: / 07470808717.

“An experienced lawyer” who is “a superb strategist and is extremely knowledgeable”. Chambers High Net Worth 2020 directory

Alan Eccles is “one of the leaders in private client expertise in Scotland.” Chambers High Net Worth 2019 directory

Alan Eccles… a Legal Influencer for Private Client (UK) – Lexology Marketing Awards

Charities, third & impact sector Private client

Distinctively Scottish: haggis… and the law

(pic: as seen at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum)

It is 25 January. Burns Night. So, naturally, people will be tucking into haggis, neeps and tatties. What could be more Scottish? Well, the law can be quite distinctively Scottish too… it also brought the world (and the law of negligence) the other culinary delight – the snail in a bottle!

Here is a little jaunt through a few personal and charity law points to be aware of as being different from the rules used in other parts of the UK.

Scotland has its own rules on succession and inheritance.

The intestacy rules in Scotland differ from elsewhere. This includes the rights of surviving spouses/civil partners and children.

Forced heirship, in the form of ‘legal rights’ applies in Scotland. This can affect how an estate is distributed… a will is only the start of the story.

The valid signing of a Scottish will is different. If a Scottish domiciled individual signed a will set for signing under English law, it might cause problems. On domicile, please do go read the case about Liverpool resident George Bowie – a “Glasgow man” and avid reader of Glasgow based news – on what it means, for a will, to be Scottish.

When there is no will and there is an intestacy, cohabitants have the right to apply to the court to receive a payment or assets from the estate.

There are distinct rules for the appointment of guardians to young children.

And on the the topic of ‘young’… age 16 is the age of legal capacity rather than 18. That matters for various things, including bare trusts.

How executors act, make decisions and are generally governed can be different when dealing with executors under a Scottish will.

On governed, remember, Scotland has its own court procedures and system and ground of actions and remedies too.

In succession disputes, you might end up in court about cohabitant rights, but ‘disappointed’ individuals will need to find a ground of challenge such as incapacity rather than something around ‘fairness’ like ‘1975 Act’ claims. It also brings us back to legal rights – see above!

Trust law is another Scottish topic, although those wondering why we haven’t mentioned the ‘mixed’ nature of the Scottish legal system will be pondering the true the place of the trust in a system with a Civilian tradition.

With trusts, among the differences include permissible trust periods. Other points like this crop up when dealing with ‘kilted’ life policy trusts.

Toamayto… tomahto. Liferent… life interest. Continuing power of attorney… lasting power of attorney. We could go on.

Oh… and property law procedure and law is quite different. We won’t even dare mention intermediate rights such as equity.

A lot of tax operates at a UK level. Inheritance tax does. Capital Gains Tax does. But not everything does. There are Scottish taxpayers for income tax purposes. Property taxation is not Stamp Duty Land Tax. Rates relief for charities is focussed on charities registered in Scotland.

Powers of attorney get you the same result, but work differently in terms of preparation and drafting. As noted above, the nomenclature is different. The underlying law is different. And we have our own Public Guardian.

The inner workings of the survivorship destination is a ‘fun’ example of how the systems can work diametrically.

What is charity? Well, it can mean something different in Scotland. And it can matter in terms of the regulation of the organisation and the taxation of it. Scotland gets the OSCR for the best-named charity regulator.

Probably by this point, you are saying “enough already!”. So, OK, we will end it here. Well… before we go… we don’t obtain probate!

For help navigating Scottish legal issues, get in touch with Alan Eccles: / 07470808717.

Alan is the author of “Scotland” in the textbook, International Succession.

“An experienced lawyer” who is “a superb strategist and is extremely knowledgeable”. Chambers High Net Worth 2020 directory

Alan Eccles is “one of the leaders in private client expertise in Scotland.” Chambers High Net Worth 2019 directory

Alan Eccles… a Legal Influencer for Private Client (UK) – Lexology Marketing Awards

Charities, third & impact sector Private client

Make a Will: go from to-do to ta-dah!

There are lots of reasons to make a will. There are some here, should you wish to have a look. The conclusion really has to be a will is a good thing to have. It helps you protect your loved ones and support chosen causes.

To make a will, and to do so in a straightforward way, send an email to me… just click here:

Making a will is an important thing to do. But it need not take too long to get it sorted. With a fixed fee. And no form filling for you.

Keeping you safe, a will can be made during lockdowns from your home.

What have people said about the experience of getting a will done this way?

“Wow, that was really easy! We’re already done.”

“That was painless.”

“Just a wee note to say that I met up with Alan midweek and he fixed me to sign a will within 24 hours. That’s one slick operation.”

“An experienced lawyer” who is “a superb strategist and is extremely knowledgeable”. Chambers High Net Worth 2020 directory

Alan Eccles is “one of the leaders in private client expertise in Scotland.” Chambers High Net Worth 2019 directory