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What Happens in Scotland if You Die Without a Will?

  • The Law Society of Scotland

Making a Will is something that many people put off doing. However, if you fail to put plans in place, there can be severe consequences for those closest to you when it comes to sharing out your estate after you die. In these circumstances, the law will step in to make decisions about how your money and property will be distributed, ignoring any wishes you may have expressed to loved ones but never got around to putting in writing. This can create a great deal of stress for your family and friends at what will already be an upsetting and emotional time.

Expert Wills Lawyers in Glasgow

When a person dies in Scotland without leaving a Will, this is called dying intestate. Decisions about what will happen to their property, money and possessions upon death are made by referring to a set of standard legal rules, called the Rules of Intestacy. These rules set out who should inherit, and to what extent.

The Rules of Intestacy will be strictly followed. The person who has died will not have any say in what happens to their estate. There can also be implications for the value of the estate as a whole. Larger estates may be liable for inheritance tax, which is payable on money, property and possessions over a certain value. Inheritance tax liability can be reduced by effective planning through a Will, meaning that as much of the estate as possible is passed on to people and causes that you care about.

Who Will Inherit Under the Rules of Intestacy?

The Rules of Intestacy can be confusing, with several stages to be completed depending on the size and nature of the estate. Firstly, any outstanding debts must be paid before the estate is divided into moveable assets (such as money, shares, cars, furniture or jewellery) and heritable assets (any land or buildings owned by the deceased).

A spouse or civil partner has ‘prior rights', that is the right to inherit a share of a house, furniture and money. There are set values that will determine how much of these assets will be passed on at this stage. A spouse or civil partner, along with any children, also has ‘legal rights’. That is the right to a share of any remaining moveable property. Again, there are set rules about what share will go to each beneficiary. Any assets that are left will be shared amongst family members in the order set out in the Rules of Intestacy. It is important to note that unmarried partners or cohabitants do not have any legal rights.

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

The friendly and approachable Wills solicitors at Claphams can offer clear, straightforward advice on all matters concerning the drafting of your Will. Based in the Southside of Glasgow and servicing clients across the city, as well as in Clarkston, Newton Mearns, Giffnock, Netherlee and beyond, our lawyers are on hand to explain your options in plain English, without resorting to legal jargon. Whatever your circumstances, speak to a member of our Wills team to find out how we can help.

Contact us today on 0141 620 0800 or fill out our online enquiry form.

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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.