In a recent report, Royal London warned that less than 40% of adults in the UK have a Will. This number is worryingly low as having a Will is very important for many reasons. Principally, without a Will your wishes in relation to how your estate should be distributed can be overruled by Law. Death and succession are topics that nobody enjoys discussing or planning for, but creating a Will is essential to ensuring that your wishes come into fruition.
What is a Will?
A Will is a single legal document which does three main things:-
- Appoints an executor.
This is the individual or individuals who will be responsible for the administration and distribution of your estate. An executor can be a family member, a friend or a solicitor. It is important that you pick someone who you can trust and will be capable in dealing with the administration of your estate.
- Sets out in writing who you would like to inherit your estate.
Your estate is essentially made up of everything that you own. This may include, a house, bank accounts and investments etc.
- Sets out in writing your funeral instructions.
Funeral instructions contained within a Will can be as straight forward as stating whether you wish to be buried or cremated. Having basic wishes in place can be hugely beneficial to your friends and family as it removes the burden from them at an emotional time.
A Will can also include other clauses which allow for the creation of trusts and for guardians to be appointed for children up to 16 years of age.
What are the Benefits of having a Will?
The overarching benefits to creating a Will are simple. A will:-
- Ensures your money goes to whom you want.
- Saves your family stress and worry.
- Can potentially reduce Inheritance Tax.
- Saves time and money when winding up an estate.
What Happens if I Die Without a Will?
Passing away without leaving a Will is known as dying “intestate”. This means that:-
- The Law of Scotland shall dictate how your assets are to be distributed.
If you are not survived by your husband, wife, civil partner or your children, then your estate may be distributed amongst distant relatives. It is important to note that, even if you have separated – but not divorced – from your spouse or civil partner they will still be entitled to inherit from your estate.
If you are not married to your partner, they shall not inherit any part of your estate automatically. They would need to make an application to the Court to determine if they should be eligible to inherit. This is at the discretion of the Sherriff and therefore there is no guaranteed outcome.
- The administration and winding up of your estate will be costly both in terms of time and money.
This is because an application to the Sheriff Court must be made to have an executor appointed to deal with the administration of the estate. An insurance policy is also required to insure against the acting of the executor. Generally, the process of administering an instate estate is often complicated therefore there can be increased outlays and legal fees.
Neilsons can help
The good news is, creating a Will can be simple and straightforward with the correct professional legal advice. A Will can also be easily changed or amended if your circumstances change. At Neilsons we are dedicated to creating bespoke Wills to suit the needs of every individual and can assist you via innovative video methods during lockdown.
If you would like any further information please do not hesitate to contact us!