Making a Will in Scotland
Failing to leave a Will means your estate is distributed according to strict legal rules and not in accordance with your wishes. Drawing up a Will, on the other hand, and planning for the future, means that your estate will be shared amongst those nearest and dearest to you, and stops your worldly goods falling into the hands of the tax man or someone else you did not intend.
The relatively simple procedure of preparing a Will therefore removes uncertainty and brings peace of mind. The Will appoints an executor to act as your representative and administer your estate when you are no longer here, and provides concise instructions regarding funeral arrangements and what you want to happen to your property when you die. It also reduces the likelihood of costly, time-consuming disputes that can bleed an estate dry and cause rifts between those you leave behind.
What happens if I do not make a Will?
If you do not make a Will, the rules of intestacy will determine how your estate is shared. These rules are essentially ‘one-size fits all’ for dealing with estates where there is no Will. They do not allow for any preference that you express during your lifetime to be taken into account. They demand that estates be distributed according to a strict hierarchy and therefore their application to your estate is highly unlikely to reflect your wishes.
If I make a Will now, can I change it?
Yes. Making a Will now will not bind you to it forever. In fact, a Will should be updated to reflect changes in your circumstances, or if you change your mind about who you would like your belongings to go to or the funeral arrangements you would like. You can alter the Will, adding codicils to its terms, or revoke it altogether and start a-fresh. However, if you decide to change a Will or alter its terms, it is vital to make sure the changes are carried out in a way that satisfies the formal requirements. A failure to do so may result in the changes you wanted to make not being recognised in law and therefore not carried out.
When should I make a Will?
It is advisable to make a Will as soon as possible. While it understandably is not on the top of most people’s ‘to do’ lists, it is a fact of life that we cannot know what is waiting for us in the future. It is therefore often the case that people make a Will around the same time that they have a material change in circumstances, such as buying or selling a property or a business, or when they reach certain life milestones, such as marriage or entering into a civil partnership, or reach a certain age. Whatever stage you are at, we will help you draft a Will that reflects your wishes.
How can a solicitor help?
While in theory anyone can draft a Will, in order for it to be legally binding it has to comply with certain criteria. Notably, a Will must be, amongst other things:
- in writing;
- signed by the person making it on every page; and
- signed in front of a witness.
The formalities are strict, and falling foul of any one of them will have serious consequences that mean your Will is declared void and your estate falls into intestacy. There are also legal requirements that must be met when changing a Will. A solicitor will also make sure your Will is as comprehensive as possible, taking into account all your assets and potential liabilities, and helping you to draft terms that will be interpreted in exactly the way you intend. Legal advice will not only ensure that your Will is validly executed and fully reflects your wishes, it can also guide you on how you can organise your affairs in a way that reduces the Inheritance Tax due on your estate.
Specialist Wills Advice in Lanark, Scotland
Our solicitors are expert drafters, able to set down your wishes in clear and unambiguous terms. We are also commercially minded, which means we will make sure your Will is comprehensive, covering all your assets, interests and potential eventualities.
Our experienced team of solicitors can help you with:
- making a Will;
- changing a Will;
- revoking a Will;
- Inheritance Tax planning;
- estate planning; and
Contact Davidson & Shirley Wills Solicitors in Lanark, Motherwell & Wishaw, Scotland
At Davidson & Shirley we will help you get peace of mind over your future and confidence that your loved ones will be looked after. To speak to one of our professional and personable private client solicitors, contact us today on 01555 662576 or fill out our online enquiry form.