New powers on trusts and succession

Courts can prevent killers from being executors of victims’ estates.

New powers have come into force allowing a court to prevent those convicted of murder or culpable homicide from acting as an executor on their victim’s estate.

The measures are part of the Trusts and Succession (Scotland) Act 2024, which was passed unanimously by the Scottish Parliament in December 2023.

Other parts of the Act that come into force today include the power for a co-trustee to remove a professional trustee, such as an accountant or solicitor, if they are no longer a member of their regulated profession or entitled to practice.

This provision was included in the legislation in response to concerns that arose following the collapse of the WW&J McClure firm of solicitors.

Victims and Community Safety Minister Siobhian Brown said: 

“Preventing killers from being executors is an important part of this legislation. It will stop added anguish for victims’ loved ones, as happened to the family of Carol Taggart who was murdered by her son, who was also her executor. Carol’s friends and family are to be commended for campaigning for this important change to the law, which will prevent it happening to another family.

“More generally, the law of trusts and succession needed to be updated to keep pace with how society has changed and developed, and these new measures will help to ensure that our law is more relevant and can better meet the needs of modern Scotland.”


It will be for the courts to apply the law in individual cases. Courts will be able to take account of convictions that pre-date the Act coming into force.

The Trusts and Succession (Scotland) Act 2024 received Royal Assent on 30 January.  Remaining provisions of the Act will come into force in due course.  The Scottish Government is working with the UK Government on the reserved issue of pension trusts and working on the implementation of the wider Act.


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