Making a Will
Pollock Fairbridge Schiavone are Will Solicitors based in Stepps, Glasgow and they offer a comprehensive Will writing service giving you peace of mind that your wishes will be carried out when you are no longer here.
Many of us put off making a Will. Some believe it is not relevant as they are too young or not wealthy enough. Others simply don’t want to think about it. Around two thirds of eligible people in Scotland have not made a Will.
Why Make a Will ?
- If you don’t have a Will then your estate will be distributed in accordance with the laws of intestate succession. This may not reflect your wishes and can lead to delays, additional costs and stress to your family.
- A comprehensive and fully enforceable Will ensures your estate is distributed in accordance with your wishes. It gives you peace of mind knowing your loved ones are provided for, particularly any special provisions for vulnerable family members.
- The changes in modern life mean that a Will is especially important. There is an increasing trend towards couples living together (remaining unmarried) and sometimes with children.
- A will is critical where heritable property is involved or for those in second marriages with children from the previous marriage.
- In addition to a will, cohabitees should seriously consider entering into a Cohabitation Agreement.
You may have made a Will in the past and your circumstances have changed. It is also important to bear in mind that the law is constantly evolving and a Will prepared several years ago may not reflect your wishes, particularly those instructed prior to 2007. Pollock Fairbridge Schiavone Solicitors can carry out a Will review and advise you of any changes that may be required.
Important issues to consider when instructing a new Will
- Irrespective of the provisions in your will, your spouse and your children have a legal entitlement to your moveable estate which is generally everything other than land and buildings (heritable property). The option would be to either accept the provisions in the will or exercise their legal rights claim. They cannot claim both. It is also worth pointing out that spouses leaving everything to each other and then ultimately their children (on the second death) should be aware that their children could still exercise their legal rights on the first death. Children often waive their entitlement however, estranged children may not.
- Think carefully about suitable persons to be appointed as executors and trustees in your will. They will be responsible for implementing the terms of your will or any ongoing trust beneficiaries for minors or vulnerable persons. If your estate is likely to attract inheritance tax or you have business interests or property abroad then it might be sensible to appoint a professional as an executor/trustee. We would recommend that you appoint at least two executors or one with a substitute should the first named executor be unable to act (death or incapacity).
- Make a list of your assets and debts. This includes estimated valuations of the family home, other property and any mortgage loans. Details of all bank accounts, investments, shares, bonds will be required.
- Look out your personal pension details. It will often be possible to make a nomination and any death-in-service benefits will not form part of your estate.
- Look out any life policies or mortgage term assurance policies. It is often advisable to put these policies into trust and treated separately from your estate.
- Consider how you would like to provide for your loved ones. You may consider making specific legacies (items of jewellery, family heirlooms, a car or a house) to certain individuals. It is also possible to leave set cash amounts to family and friends or to a charity. After all legacies have been made and all associated expenses of the estate administration the balance left is referred to as the ‘residue’. This can be left to one or more individuals or to a trust with the trustees having discretion as to the choice of beneficiaries and their entitlement. This might be a useful option if you were, for example, worried about your spouse’s financial management skills.
You may have made a Will in the past and your circumstances have changed. It is also important to bear in mind that the law is constantly evolving and a Will prepared several years ago may not reflect your wishes, particularly those instructed prior to 2007. Pollock Fairbridge Solicitors can carry out a Will review and advise you of any changes that may be required.
For an informal chat about making a Will, please do not hesitate to call our Stepps office or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org