Here are some common misconceptions regarding what will happen if you die without a Scottish Will and what you stand to lose.
“My husband/wife/civil partner will inherit my estate anyway” and conversely” I will automatically inherit my husband’s/wives/civil partners estate”
This is not the case. By dying Intestate in Scotland i.e. dying without a Will, the Law , under Prior Rights and Legal Rights, determines who will receive a share of the estate and how much. There is a strict “pecking order” which the Law does not allow deviation from.
“We’re not married but have been together for a long time so my common law wife/husband will inherit everything.
Probably the most common misconception regarding dying intestate and one that is completely wrong. Even if you have children together you will receive nothing without having to take your case to court. In the case of a same sex couple but who have not taken part in a Civil Partnership, again even if living together, the surviving partner will receive nothing. Partners can even be thrown out of the family home they share as co-habitees have no legal right to share!
“Everything will go to the children”
Possibly but maybe not the property or asset as intended or even the right share. Step children need further protection. Only legally adopted children have the same rights as blood children. Step children have no rights therefore will inherit nothing.
“I have passed my wishes to my children so they will carry these out when I die”
Regardless of your wishes these may not be carried out. Sibling rivalry, greed, ungrateful and unreliable children mean that history is littered with children who choose to ignore their parents’ wishes. Unfortunately you are not there to rectify this. You are dead.
“I do not have a lot to leave so there is no need for me to make a Will”
Regardless of your perception of your worldly goods, we do all in fact have assets that form our estate, from items and investments that have a monetary value right down to items that have sentimental value. Most people will have an idea of who they would wish to leave these items to, whether that is an individual or an organisation i.e. a charity.
“I want my parents/brother/sister will look after my children in the event of my death and they have agreed to this.”The Law does not recognise what you would like to happen and your wishes. Unless you have appointed a Legal Guardian under a Will in Scotland, Social Services will become involved and ultimately the Courts will decide who will look after your children. At a time of great emotional distress for them anyway due to your passing, do you wish for them to be taken away and placed in care. Of course you don’t.All of these statements above can be positively addressed. By making a Will in Scotland you make sure that your assets and estate are distributed to your loved ones in accordance to your wishes. 

Now is the time to act

It’s a sobering statistic – around 70% of the population do not have a Will, leaving a very uncertain future for their families. So why leave a Will?

  • Dying “intestate” (without a will) means your possessions will be distributed according to the Law of Intestacy. Meaning the Government then decides what happens to your assets…..and they may even become a beneficiary!
  • Having a valid Scottish Will in place is the ONLY way to guarantee that your estate is distributed according to your wishes, via your clear instructions and thereby ensuring your loved ones benefit.
  • A valid Will will safeguard your children’s inheritance until they are aged 25, if needed.
  • In your Will you can appoint a Guardian – a person of your choice – to look after your children if they are under 18.
  • Administering an estate – with a Grant of Confirmation and where there is a Will in Scotland – is far quicker and cheaper than without a Will and makes the process a lot easier for your executor.
  • It is commonly believed that husbands and wives are automatically entitled to inherit everything from each other, but this is not the case.
  • If you are not married or in a civil partnership, your partner will not inherit from you unless you have a Will.
  • A carefully prepared Will – drafted with appropriate Trusts – can minimise the amount of Inheritance Tax paid.
  • The appropriate Trusts can also be used to protect vulnerable beneficiaries i.e. minors and young persons or disabled persons.
  • Further appropriate Trusts may be able to protect you from having all of your assets, including your home, sold to pay for Long Term Care Costs.
  • Having a valid Will in place could prevent unnecessary family quarrels, avoidable expenses and long-drawn-out legal disputes.
  • You may want to prevent certain members of your family benefiting from your estate, this can only be done through a Will.
  • You may want to leave something to friends, colleagues or charities; this can only happen if you make a Will.
  • Take the pressure off your family and loved ones by detailing your precise funeral arrangements such as type of burial or cremation, hymns, requests and donations etc. or even having a pre-paid funeral plan in place.
  • Peace of Mind. An understated, yet gratifying, emotion of knowing that your worldly goods, and those loved ones who are to share in them, will be distributed according to your wishes.


When does my Will become legal?

At Willtrust Ltd we pride ourselves on a face to face relationship with our clients. What this will entail is one of our Consultants will arrange to meet with you, this first appointment to enable them to explain the process and options and to take your Will instructions. After this has been completed we will send you a Draft copy of the Will for you to check. If anything needs correcting, we will do it at this stage. Once any corrections (if required) have been rectified, we will arrange a second appointment to complete the signatures from you and your witnesses.

Once your Will has been executed i.e. signed, dated and witnessed correctly, then your Will is a valid legal document and needs to be stored safely.


Where should I store my Will?

You can store your Will anywhere you like, alternatively Willtrust Ltd offer a whole of life, flood and fireproof secure storage facility for a very reasonable annual fee, less than 10 pence a day! We strongly recommend that you take up this offer as only an original Will is valid, a copy is not. Imagine if you die in a house fire and your Will is destroyed in the same fire, all of your stated intentions within the Will would have been in vain.

The absence of a Will can cause problems, heartbreak, financial hardship and unnecessary expense for your family at the very worst possible time.

For a small investment of time and money YOU can write what YOU want in YOUR Will, protecting YOUR loved ones whilst enjoying peace of mind.


To receive qualified and ethical advice in relation to any aspect of your Scottish Will-Writing and Estate Planning requirements, please visit our contact page.