Writing a Will: Why does it matter?
It’s common to worry about what the future holds as we grow older. A Will is a legal document that instructs your preferred persons to act as “Executors” after your death and distribute your estate according to your wishes. Your Will can be updated as often as you require when circumstances change. Often people don’t appreciate their value when considering their estate. From bank accounts to property; personal items to children, cars, or even pets, every adult should have a Will to protect their legacy. Will writing is not an acceptance of the end, but is often a life-affirming process adding peace of mind that our affairs are in order should the unexpected occur.
Specify who will look after your children
In Scots Law, a child is considered a minor until the age of 16 years old. Young families should consider appointing a guardian who can look after any children. This is often a close family member, and it’s important to consider environment, financial stability, beliefs and values as strong components of a suitable guardian. A guardian can have the power to make decisions on medical treatments, finances, or care management. This could include things like what schools they go to. Without appointing a guardian, suitable persons will have to apply for parental rights through the courts. This can take considerable time at what would be a difficult time for a child.
Leave a cash (pecuniary) legacy to a person or to a charity
Many people consider writing a Will to leave a pecuniary (cash) legacy to an individual, charity, or meaningful cause. A cash legacy gives an opportunity to give back and mark support in our life. Cash sums separate from the estate could be left to a spouse or child, or to a friend. Pecuniary legacies could also be used to give back to a charity that has been a particular support during someone’s lifetime. Pecuniary legacies can either be bequeathed as a set monetary sum, or as a percentage of a total amount.
Gift a specific Item to a loved One
Our estates are consolidated as a whole upon death, however leaving a specific item can ensure items of significance - whether value or personal meaning - are left to those special to you. This could include:
- Electronic equipment
Leave a Property Legacy
Although property is often one of the main components of our estate, it can be left as a legacy as a whole or parts to beneficiaries. It is important to consider title deed ownership and whether married or unmarried couples who share ownership are recognised as doing so in law. There could also be considerations of rights of tenancy when leaving a house legacy to children.
If you are looking to protect children who are unable to make sound decisions either through disability, addiction, or family situations, property legacies can be a sound way to mitigate a lump sum which could be compromised.
Property legacies can be very complicated, particularly with older properties listed on the Sasine register. Writing a Will is often an excellent time to review and consolidate the title deeds of a property.
How much does a Will cost?
We can provide basic Wills from £175 + VAT (£210 total). This cost covers more than simply drafting a Will for you, we provide solid understandable advice to ensure you’re making the right decisions for the future.
What Happens if I Die without a Will?
Legal Rights & the Laws of Intestacy
If you die intestate, the laws of intestacy govern the division of your estate. This will mean that your loved ones may not be provided for, regardless of their relationship to you. It could also significantly limit the amount of the estate that falls to preferred beneficiaries, even if they are direct children. Families are constantly evolving, with partnerships, divorce, and remarriage more prominent in today’s society. Providing a Will that details your wishes will ensure your possessions are distributed as you wish. Drafting a Will ensures you are able to dictate who inherits from the estate you leave behind. Your executors are people chosen by you to oversee and ensure your wishes are followed.
Protecting Your Legacy To Your Family by Making a Will is Very Important
Family units are constantly evolving, and this can cause problems with inheritance and make a Will extremely important. If a family separates and a parent remarries, the new spouse could have claim over an estate, limiting what is left to the children of the first family and instead filtering inheritance to another family. This is known as Sideways Disinheritance and can occur even when the parents who has remarried did not intend this to be the case. Similar consideration can be made from children born to different parents and maintaining a family unit. Sideways disinheritance should also be consideration when leaving a legacy to a child who is themselves separated or divorcing, creating a potential path for your legacy to move elsewhere. Creating a Will and solidifying your wishes can help protect your legacy. If you are planning to get married or start a family, you may also wish to consider a cohabitation or pre-nuptial agreement, and you will likely wish to put plans in place to ensure your children are cared for in the event of your death.
Professional, Empathic Advice
Will Writing is an emotional and sensitive area of law. It can be confronting to consider your own death. However, writing your Will can also be an uplifting, freeing process - creating a safety net that ensures that our loved ones are protected. Our friendly team are professional and considerate in the drafting and execution of Wills and are on hand throughout the process to provide any help or answer any queries.