Our client had connections to a number of jurisdictions around the world, each with their own succession laws and tax regimes. She wanted to control who would inherit her assets after her death and organise her affairs in a tax efficient manner. Having been born in England, she now spent much of her time in Scotland. She had two children who were born in the US, business interests in the Channel Islands, and a property in Spain. She wanted to ensure that her children were looked after but did not inherit large sums outright from her estate.

The first issue we considered was how to control who would inherit the client's estate. This involved advising on forced heirship rules ('legal rights' in Scotland) and the implications of the client's domicile on those. We also had to consider forced heirship rules in the other jurisdictions where the client had assets. The next step was to draft a will, or wills, to achieve the clients wishes. Only by understanding relevant forced heirship rules and having a will which would be recognised in each jurisdiction, could the client ensure that all of her property would pass to her family in accordance with her wishes.

We also considered the clients exposure to the tax regimes in each of these jurisdictions, to ensure that her assets, wherever situated, were passed on to her family in the most tax efficient manner. This involved considering not only her own tax position, but also that of her family – and ensuring that her wills were drafted to achieve tax efficient succession.

I have worked with Susanne for a number of years and she has a down-to-earth, straightforward approach which clients like. These areas are complicated, but she can deal with them in a straightforward way and has a good bedside manner too." Client testimonial

Key highlights 

  • Our client was able to understand her English domicile of origin and how she may acquire a Scottish domicile of choice, which provided an element of control over the application of Scottish forced heirship rules.
  • We worked collaboratively with lawyers in each of the other jurisdictions to ensure that forced heirship rules in those jurisdictions did not undermine the client's intended outcome.
  • With those same lawyers we to drafted a Spanish will to govern succession to the assets there, a Scottish will to govern the UK and Channel Island assets, and a lifetime US trust to receive funds from a Scottish will trust for the benefit of our client's US born children after her death.
  • We were able to implement a trust structure in the client's Scottish will which meant that her children could benefit from her assets, without inheriting large sums outright from the estate.
  • We took great care in listening to the client to understand her wishes, and our team of specialist lawyers worked with colleagues at Brodies and around the world to deliver solutions which achieved the clients wishes.


Our careful consideration of the client's circumstances and wishes enabled us to ensure that, for the first time in her life, she had a wholistic estate planning solution which achieved her wishes.

We worked collegiately with the client's advisors around the world to ensure that she, and her family, had the necessary structures in place to ensure that her assets were passed as tax efficiently as possible to her family after her death.

This gave the client peace of mind, because she knew that her family would be looked after – wherever they may be - when she was no longer here.


Stewart Gibson

Senior Associate