Personal Law

As we receive an increasing number of queries in relation to wills and powers of attorney, it has become clear that the Covid-19 pandemic is encouraging people to forward plan.

While many head to the internet to find out what they need to do, it is important that you get clear, accurate and professional advice. Here are some of the questions that we are commonly asked:

Will everything pass to my other half if I die without a will?

Unfortunately, this is not the case.  The Scottish laws of intestacy (the legal term for when an individual dies without leaving a will) dictate how your possessions and assets (typically known as your estate) is distributed on death. This could mean that, for example, your spouse may not inherit all of your estate.  Cohabitants (those who live together but who are not married or in a civil partnership) are also not automatically provided for and therefore should make wills in order to ensure that their estate is distributed in line with their wishes.

Will my children automatically be looked after?

Again, this is not the case. If you have young children, it is imperative that you put a will in place to appoint guardians who will oversee your children’s welfare. If this is not in place the court will appoint guardians. You should also consider a trust for their inheritance. The costs and legal procedures involved where there is not a will in place are significant. In addition, the final outcome of who is selected to make these decisions about your child’s welfare and inheritance may not be aligned to your wishes.

If I tell my other half or leave a video or a text message will this be sufficient to ensure my wishes after death are acted on?

We are seeing a lot of misinformation in relation to this issue. A will is currently only valid in Scotland if it is in writing. It must also be signed at the foot of every page and witnessed for it to relied on without any extra steps being needed after death.  The Law Society of Scotland has recently issued guidance on this aspect as to how this will work, taking into account social distancing measures.  We are happy to discuss this with you.

Can I get a DIY will pack and this will be sufficient?

There are many scenarios that will not be covered by a DIY pack. It is so important to get advice from specialist advisors. Your will is so important – it is worthwhile getting the right advice.

Will the whole process be costly and time consuming?

The cost will depend on your individual circumstances. Wills that include, for example, more complicated family structures or those with business assets to consider, will typically cost more. Our lawyers are approachable and will discuss costs with you.

Please contact a member of our team for more information and to discuss how we can help you.

Susanne Batchelor
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