Sadly, common mistakes can cause problems after your death and even cost loved ones their inheritance.
More than half of Scottish adults have not made a will. Of those who have many have not updated their wills for some time which can lead to inheritance disputes.
Dying intestate — legalese for not leaving a will — can leave considerable costs and complications for people left behind to deal with – all to be dealt with alongside the anguish of grieving.
You should not assume the law will make provision for your loved ones in the way you intend.
To help you write your will and so that your estate passes those you intend, here are 5 things to consider:
1.Unmarried people have no automatic rights
If you are not married, it is not the same ab being wed – despite what people think. Even if your partner claims then the amounts awarded are very likely to be less.
You need to make a will if you want your cohabiting partner or stepchildren to benefit from your estate.
In Scotland, where there is no Will then a court action will be required for someone to be appointed as Executor
A cohabitee is not one of those entitled to be appointed as Executor by a court.
The Court will require the applicant to obtain insurance. Both action and insurance are expenses easily avoided.
2. Claims, if you have not made a Will, shall definitely be made by relatives.
Are these people that you want to inherit? My experience is “not always”.
Claims can be made on your estate, even if you leave a Will expressly excluding a close relative, however, making a Will restricts that claim and minimizes it.
If you make a Will then you decide who is to get what.
3. Has the Will been drawn up correctly?
The formal requirements are that your Will must be in writing, signed by a testator on every page in the presence of (or acknowledged to) one witness, (not two, which is an English law issue) who should also sign.
If not, it is possibly not valid or self-proving.
It also needs to make sense and not in an English law way. Many cheap kits are based on English law, are inflexible and with limited application in Scotland. Take care.
4.Your mental capacity will affect your ability to make a will.
This is a common issue these days due to the ageing population. It is another good reason to make a will without delay and, also, to set up a Power of Attorney allowing your loved ones to look after you whilst you are still alive.
5. You can make a valid Will, at home without seeing a Solicitor.
It is true that my Wills and the website is designed by me, a Solicitor, but you do not have to go to my office.
Bruce de Wert, Scottish Solicitor
Making the complicated, simple
Making the expensive, inexpensive
Established 20 years ago in the year 2000