Politicians Claim Convicted Murderers Should Not Be Executors

Scottish politicians have fully supported a change in inheritance law after a jailed man, convicted of murdering his mum, is left in charge of her estate.

Recently reported in the Press, Lorraine Taggart has endured a long-standing battle to remove her jailed brother, as executor of the home of their mother, Carol Taggart, who he killed in 2014.

Since Carol Taggart’s death, her daughter, Lorraine, had only been able to gain access to her mother’s property in Dunfermline to recover chattels and mementos in the last week.

Lorraine was only permitted to one hour in her mother’s home by her jailed brother, but only on the condition that she went alone with two of her brother’s lawyers accompanying her – plus she was only allowed in her mother’s bedroom.

To her horror, when she entered the home she was faced with vermin in large numbers. She said: “How is this looking after the estate? I can’t go on with sentimental items being eaten and the house rotting from inside out. This is not right.”

In her quest to change the law, Lorraine and her husband Stephen have started a petition to get reform now. The petition has more than 13,000 signatures and she plans to contact MPs and MSPs to get their full backing and help with her fight.

Lesley Laird MP has told the Press she fully backs a change in the law. She said: “Labour’s Daniel Johnson MSP raised this in the Scottish Parliament earlier this year and heard the issue would be considered as part of a wider government reform on inheritance law.

“I very much hope that overhaul will result in legislative changes which prevent victims’ relatives having to suffer what Lorraine has had to endure since she lost her mum.

“The loss of a loved one in such circumstances is harrowing enough without, due to antiquated laws, having to suffer years of psychological torment at the hands of the perpetrator.”

Dunfermline MSP Shirley-Anne Somerville said she contacted the Scottish Government earlier in the year to bring the case to their attention. She said: “There is no denying that this is a horrific situation for anyone to find themselves in. Lorraine and her family have my every sympathy.”

“I was pleased to receive assurances that ministers remain committed to reforming and modernising the law of succession in Scotland, to ensure that the rights of individuals and families are protected.

“Ministers have advised that succession law has been under review, with the Scottish Government expected to respond to the Scottish Law Commission’s recommendations for reforms in the coming months.

“I’m heartened to know that the family will be meeting with representatives of the Scottish Government in order to share their experiences with them directly.

“As the government moves forward with the review process, it’s essential that the thoughts and concerns of people who have been affected by these laws are given full consideration.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson informed the Press recently that they were dedicated to reforming and modernising the law of succession in Scotland, to ensure a “clear and fair legal framework” for the law of inheritance, relevant to modern Scottish society and the rights of individuals and families.  The spokesperson said: “As part of this work, we will consider whether there is a need to amend the law to address the issue of convicted murders acting as executors for their victims,” added the spokesperson.

As a private client specialist, what is your opinion of this change in law? Do you think it will get passed by Scottish Government?