Making a Will is important to ensure that your wishes are carried out. If you do not leave a Will your estate will be distributed according to the rules of intestacy and although your spouse or civil partner will have certain rights they will not automatically receive your entire estate. In addition if there is no Will a relative would require to petition the court to have an executor appointed which incurs more fees and causes delay in winding up the estate.
Ideally your Will should contain provisions for all your property – not just your house and money in bank accounts but also savings and investments. You may also wish to set aside items of significant sentimental value for particular people.
Another key function of making a Will is to appoint an Executor for your estate. This is an important role as this is the person tasked with carrying out the wishes contained in a Will. They will also be responsible for the closing of bank accounts, funeral expenses and dealing with outstanding tax matters.
While a homemade Will can be held as valid, if it is not drafted properly it may be open to challenge in the Court. To avoid this, our team of solicitors in the Private Client Department will work with you to create a bespoke Will which is legally watertight and truly reflects your wishes.
If there is no Will when someone dies then what follows can be a difficult and drawn out process. That person’s estate will be divided up per the rules of intestacy which derive from the Succession (Scotland) Act 1964.
This Act makes provision for the spouse or civil partner of the deceased as well as any children however, in most cases it will not be an even split. The process of applying to the Court for an executor to be appointed and for confirmation of the estate can take longer and is more costly than if a Will is in place. This can cause unnecessary strain for families at a difficult time and as such we recommend that everyone write a Will no matter how much property you own. Once drafted, we can place your Will in our secure store for safe keeping at no extra charge.
If you already have a Will but it was created a number of years ago it is advisable to review it to make sure it displays an up to date reflection of your assets and wishes. In general we recommend that a Will should be reviewed every five years or on a change of circumstance such as marriage, divorce or the birth of a child.
Have more questions about Wills, Trusts & Estates? Go back to the Wills, Trusts & Estates page for help from our expert team.
Need more help for yourself or your family? Visit our Services for Individuals page for details of how our experts can help you.