Why do I need a Will?
- A Will allows you to set out your wishes regarding how you want your estate to be dealt with on your death and who you want to inherit, giving you peace of mind knowing that what you want to happen will be followed when you are no longer here.
- There is a common misconception that your spouse or children (or their spouses if they die before you) will automatically inherit your whole estate on your death and that there is no need to have a Will prepared.
- Wills can be used as an effective tax-planning tool to reduce or prevent an Inheritance Tax bill on your death.
- In second marriages, a Will can allow you to make provision for your spouse whilst also protecting the interests of any children from a previous marriage.
- At Morgans, we recommend that everyone should have a Will and that it is not just something for elderly clients to consider.
- Ideally, your Will should be reviewed and where necessary, updated throughout the duration of your lifetime.
- A Will is by no means set in stone, it can be updated or changed as many times and as often as you wish.
- We would always suggest that it is sensible to review your Will every 5 years or so.
What happens if I don’t have a Will?
If a person dies without a Will (known as an intestate estate), the terms of the Succession (Scotland) Act 1964 sets out who is entitled to inherit and in what proportions.
- A Spouse has the first claim on your estate known as Prior Rights, which allows them to inherit certain assets up to set maximum values - this may mean they don’t get everything.
- The second claim available to Spouses and children is known as Legal Rights. The share that can be claimed depends on whether there is a surviving spouse and children or only a spouse or only children.
- The Free Estate (anything left over after Prior and/or Legal Rights have been settled) is divided in terms of the order of beneficiaries set out in the Act. This may be a distant relative and not the person or persons you would want to inherit
- A cohabitee is not automatically entitled to a share of your estate. They may need to apply to the Court for a financial settlement within 6 months of your death, which can prove costly, take months and is by no means guaranteed!
What should I do now?
Get in touch to arrange a meeting with our friendly and approachable Solicitors, who are on hand to make the process of drafting a Will simple and straightforward.