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It’s Not Too Late for a New Year’s Resolution – Write a Will

In January we typically reflect on the year we have had and think about things in our lives that we want to change in the coming months. Many people make a pledge to lose weight, get fit or learn a new language. By this point in January, these ambitions have usually been abandoned. However, it’s not too late to do one straightforward thing that can give you peace of mind and secure your children’s future: write a will.

The most recent research on this topic was done by the Scottish Consumer Council, who estimated that over 60% of Scots have not written a will. Affluent elderly Scots are the group most likely to have made a will.

Scottish society has changed a lot over time and has become wealthier. Around two-thirds of us now own our own homes and the average value of a deceased’s estate is £153,792. This means that it is more important than ever to consider making a will.

Why Write a Will?

There are many reasons to write a will. Fundamentally, writing a will gives you power over what happens to your property once you die. As long as you abide by a set of rules known as the “Rules of Succession” you can decide who inherits what. You could leave money to a charity you cared about, leave a piece of jewellery to someone you loved or leave money to a friend. You could set up a trust for younger members of your family so that the money will be invested and protected until they are old enough to inherit. None of this is possible without a will.

Writing a will also gives you the power to appoint your executor. The executor is the person who administers the estate, settles any debts owed and makes payments to beneficiaries. Many people find it comforting to know that their estate will be handled by someone they trusted, such as a solicitor. If you do not write a will, you can have no influence on who will be your executor, and they will be appointed by the court.

What Happens if You Die Without Writing a Will?

When someone dies without making a will, they are described as being “intestate”. In this case, the estate is split up according to a strict set of intestacy rules. The person who died may have had other desires for their property and personal possessions, but there is no way for these wishes to be taken into consideration without a will.

Cohabitants and Intestacy

As many as 9% of people in Scotland cohabit with a partner and many never plan to marry. However, although the relationship between cohabitants may be the same as between a married couple, if you die intestate there is no guarantee your cohabiting partner would inherit. The Family Law (Scotland) Act 2005 made it possible for cohabitants to make a claim on their spouse’s estate but this would require the expense and stress of going to court at a difficult time.

Will Lawyers Edinburgh

Writing a will can help prevent arguments, uncertainty and unnecessary pain for your family. Speak to one of our expert family lawyers today.

Contact out solicitors today on 01313414990 or complete our online enquiry form.

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