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Are you too young to make a Will? Time to rethink

One of the common mistakes many people make when there is a mention of Wills is to shrug off the topic and claim that it is not an issue they need to think about - or at least not yet. However, excuses such as that they are far too young to write a Will or not yet wealthy enough to justify writing one at this stage in their lives are simply incorrect. 

If you pass away and have not yet written your Will, your assets, however large or small, are not guaranteed to be passed to the loved ones you would want them to go to. Your estate will not be distributed according to your wishes and will be in the hands of the law.

Why should I write a Will?

Family structures can be complicated and differ from the traditional set ups. You may have a partner rather than a wife or husband, and you may have stepchildren whom you hold as close to you as though they were your biological child. It may go without saying as far as you are concerned that you want them to inherit your estate when you die, but without a Will, others will not know. 

If you have not drafted a valid Will, your wishes will not necessarily be honoured as dying without a Will means that legally your estate will be subject to the intestacy rules. Many think their estate will automatically go to their partner or spouses, but this is not necessarily the case.

What happens if I don’t have a Will?

If you die without a valid Will in place, it is known as dying intestate. The law takes over and details how your estate is to be divided and to whom, your real wishes cannot be respected. This will leave your loved ones not only grieving a bereavement but with a complicated situation on their hands.

Intestacy rules are complex and can vary according to the type of assets, such as whether it is a house you are leaving or personal belongings. The intestacy rules are divided into three types of rights:

  • prior rights
  • legal rights
  • free estate

Without getting into the confusing details of each of these, they provide for some rights depending on the individual situation, for example, to your:

  • surviving partner or spouse
  • children
  • adopted children
  • grandchildren

What will my other family members receive?

Unfortunately, in Scotland the intestacy rules are 58 years old so they do not necessarily take into account today's families and relationships. 

If you are cohabiting or have step-children, they will have no rights to your estate when you have not left a valid Will. If you have half-siblings, whilst they may have some rights to your assets, these are very limited.

Cohabitants can make a separate claim to a court for rights, but this is not automatic, taking time and effort during a period of grief. Any asset they are eventually awarded is unlikely to be as much as it would have been if they were in a civil partnership or married. 

How do I draft my Will?

Your Will should be drafted carefully, with excellent legal guidance. At Claphams, we will listen to your wishes and ensure your Will reflects them so your loved ones receive what you intended.

What if there is a change to my family after the Will is drafted?

Of course, your circumstances may change as time goes on. You will want to amend your Will accordingly. This is why we will review your Will with you after any relevant major life events and redraft were required to ensure that your wishes remain true and legally binding.

Contact our experienced and caring Wills and Estates Lawyers serving Newton Mearns, Giffnock, Netherlee, Eaglesham, Carmunnock, Stewarton and Southside Glasgow.

Claphams has over 35 years of experience in dealing with sensitive life-changing legal situations such as Wills and estates, bereavement, divorce or moving house. We aim to give you more than one-off legal advice but instead to provide you with long-term legal advice and support through a range of issues. 

Our extensive legal knowledge coupled with our mature and sympathetic approach means that you can rest assured you are in excellent hands. We provide you with guidance, advice and support for a range of your legal needs. Call our team of experts today on 0141 620 0800 or fill in our online contact form.

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