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A Guide to Drafting a Will in Scotland

  • The Law Society of Scotland
  • The Law Society of Scotland
  • Legal Aid

When planning for the future, one of the most prudent things you can do is ensure you have a Will. It may be one of these tasks that you keep putting off and claim you will eventually get around to. However, setting aside time to deal with it now will ensure your estate will be dealt with the way that you want it to be. You will have peace of mind that your family and appointed Executors will know exactly what your intentions are.

What happens if I do not draft a Will?

If you die without leaving a Will, this is known as dying “intestate”. This means that your estate will be divided up the way in which the law dictates. This is unlikely to be what you intended for your assets. If you have no family and leave no Will, the Crown will inherit your estate. If you do have family, only your closest relatives will benefit from your estate – no specific gifts or charitable legacies will be left (even if you mentioned these intentions to anyone prior to your death). Also, it is important to know that if you are not in a marriage or civil partnership, your partner will not benefit from your estate under the intestacy rules.

If you do not make a Will then you have no say over who your assets go to. It means that your family will have a more complicated and expensive task in administering your estate. Not drafting a Will can also lead to there being a higher tax liability on your estate.

What should a Will include?

Your Will should nominate an Executor (or Executors). This will be the person (or persons) who is tasked with administering your estate and ensuring that the intentions set out in your Will are adhered to. It is also sensible to appoint an alternative Executor so that in the event that an Executor refuses to accept office or predeceases you there will be someone else to fulfil his or her role.

Next to be dealt with are legacies. Here you can outline specifically how you want your estate to be divided, for example, who you would like to inherit any property that you own or whether it should be sold, and provide instructions for cash legacies to individuals and any charitable legacies. After dealing with legacies, you will need to provide instructions for the distribution of any remaining assets. If there are any young beneficiaries in your Will, it is also possible to set up a trust to protect their assets until they reach a certain age.

You may also wish to think about having a “Letter of Wishes” drafted. This is a straightforward document that can outline your intentions and help your family members and Executors understand how and why you want your estate to be divided.

We understand that it may not be pleasant to think about drafting a Will but doing so can mean that your family and close friends are taken care of the way you want them to be. Drafting a Will can ensure they have a much less stressful time when it comes to dividing your estate.

Expert Wills Solicitors Clarkston, Newton Mearns, Giffnock, Netherlee, Eaglesham, Carmunnock, Stewarton& Southside Glasgow 

Here at Claphams, we offer a professional and accessible Will writing and updating service. As part of this mission, we have teamed up with Cancer Research UK’s free Will service. Contact us today on 0141 620 0800 or fill out our online enquiry form if you are in Clarkston, Newton Mearns, Giffnock, Netherlee or the surrounding areas in Glasgow.

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Please note we are a firm of Scottish Solicitors helping clients across Scotland and cannot help you if you are based in England.