The answer is yes. If you have made a valid Scottish Will it is important to keep this up to date in line with your own changing circumstances or that of your family in order that this important document continues to reflect your wishes and the assets that you own. The most common type of changes in circumstances which will have an effect to whom you wish to leave your property to are:
- getting married, remarried or a civil partnership
- getting divorced, separated or ending a civil partnership
- birth or adoption of children and grandchildren
- death of a beneficiary, executor, guardian or trustee
- gaining of or disposal of assets
How can this be done?
This can be done simply by making a new Scottish Will that revokes all previous Wills. Alternatively, you can amend your existing Scottish Will by creating and signing a document called a Codicil which will record the changes made and must be prepared, signed, witnessed and executed in the same way as a Will for it to be effective.
You can cancel or revoke your will by:
- it’s destruction (i.e. simply tearing it up or burning it)
- by making a new Scottish Will, which has the express direction for the previous Will to be revoked, otherwise the previous Will is only revoked in so far as the new Will makes provisions that will be inconsistent with the old Will
- by making a written statement to that effect in a document which is signed by the testator (the person making the Will) and witnessed in the same way as a Will
- please note that a letter, email or a verbal telephone call from a testator stating that their Will is now revoked/invalid/not relevant/is no longer required is insufficient to revoke their Scottish Will, even if the testator thinks it is!
Does marriage, divorce or civil partnership affect my Scottish Will?
In England, Northern Ireland and Wales any of the above events will automatically cancel any existing Will you have drawn up unless you’re Will contained a statement stating otherwise.
If any of the above events occurred in Scotland, they would have no bearing or effect with regard to your Scottish Will whatsoever.
Challenging a Will
In Scotland, spouses, civil partners, children and their issue have what is called Prior Rights and Legal Rights. A Scottish Will can therefore only be challenged only by a spouse, civil partner, children or their descendants with regards to the distribution of property or assets in a Will and claim their legal rights. Any beneficiary in a Will who is therefore not a relative with Legal Rights cannot challenge a Will.
This is a highly specialist area and one which we would recommend you seek legal advice from a Disputed Wills Solicitor who is an expert in this particular area of law.
How can I change my Will?
You can change your Will at any time and once you become a client of Willtrust Ltd, changing your Scottish Will is easy. Again through our friendly face to face appointment service one of our Consultants will make a mutually convenient appointment to see you and take your new Will instructions. Provided there are no changes to any existing Trusts within the amendments that you want, we will keep the fee as low as possible. If you require an upgrade to a different type of Will (e.g. one that maybe requires a Protective Property Trust) then we will only charge you the difference between the Will you currently have and the Will you want.
Changes in your personal and financial situation along with legislative changes mean that it is important that your Scottish Will is kept up to date as these changes occur thereby ensuring that whilst changes may happen, your Will remains relevant to your own circumstances. This remains true whether you have a simple Will through to a long-standing Will that contain Trusts and other additional features.
We do recommend that you review your Scottish Will on a regular basis and contact us so that we can advise you and make any changes to your Will if required in the event of the following:
- every 3 years or so
- after the birth of children or grandchildren
- after divorce or remarriage
- after forming or ending a civil partnership
- after the marriage of your children
- your property is now shared with whom you are not married to
- your family has been fractured with several possible claimant’s to your new Will (i.e. your new wife or children from a previous marriage)
- after the death of a beneficiary
- there is now a business involved
- your permanent home is no longer within the UK or if there is foreign property involved
Changes to your own personal circumstances and that of your family are inevitable, make sure your Scottish Will keeps up to date with these changes. If you require guidance, advice and a solution to your changing situation, Willtrust are able to offer such a service with discretion and integrity in order that your Will may be executed according to your own specific instructions.
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.