New Scots law in force from today stops killers running their victim's estates

New laws which prevent killers from acting as executors for their victims' estates will prevent "added anguish" for families, a minister has said.

Siobhian Brown was speaking as powers came into force allowing the courts to prevent those convicted of either murder or culpable homicide from taking on such a role when it comes to the estate of the person killed.

The measure is part of the Trusts and Succession (Scotland) Act 2024, which was passed unanimously by the Scottish Parliament in December last year.

It followed a campaign by the family of Carol Taggart, who was killed by her son Ross Taggart in 2014. Taggart strangled his 54-year-old mother at her home in Dunfermline, Fife, and then hid her body under a caravan.

Before her death she had made her son executor of her estate, and although he was unable to benefit financially as a result of his murder conviction, a loophole allowed him to remain as executor.

His sister Lorraine went on to campaign for the law to be changed around executors. Ms Brown praised those who had lobbied for legislation to be changed.

Lorraine Taggart Bristow, sister of Ross, who murdered their mother
Lorraine Taggart Bristow, sister of Ross, who murdered their mother -Credit:DAILY RECORD

The victims and community safety minister in the Scottish Government 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.

"These new measures will help to ensure that our law is more relevant and can better meet the needs of modern Scotland."

Other powers in the Act which came into force on Wednesday include a provision to remove a professional trustee – such as an accountant or solicitor – if they are no longer entitled to practice or a member of their regulated profession.

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