A law firm for life

It is not until a major life-changing event occurs in a person's life when they realise the importance of having a Will.

Making a Will is one of the most important things you can do for you and your family. Many people believe that they are too young or healthy to create a Will or fear the cost of making a Will through a solicitor. However, creating a Will with the help of a solicitor is nowhere near as expensive as many people believe.

Having a properly drafted Will ensures that your assets pass onto those who you wish to inherit from your estate. It can also save your loved ones from any additional unnecessary stress when you die and give you the peace of mind that they will be properly cared for. If you choose not to seek legal advice when drafting your Will and it is drafted incorrectly, this may mean that your intentions cannot be carried out, even if they were clearly expressed in a DIY Will. For these reasons, we advise that you seek professional legal advice when writing your Will.

At The McKinstry Company we understand it can be difficult to think about death and planning for a future where you are no longer around, however, our Private Client team have a wealth of experience in drafting Wills, and with their expertise and professionalism, they can guide you through the process.

What Happens if I Die Without a Will?

If you die without a valid Will (known as dying intestate) there are certain rules called rights of succession which will dictate how your money, property or possessions will be shared out. This may not be the way that you would have wished your money and possessions to be distributed.

Under Scots law, the first person entitled to a share of the estate is the surviving spouse or civil partner. They are entitled to ‘prior rights’ which include a right to the house the couple lived in up to the value of £473,000, furniture up to a value of £29,000.00 and cash or equivalent up to £89,000 where there no surviving children or £50,000 otherwise. The next claim on an intestate estate is ‘legal rights’. Legal rights only apply to moveable property, such as cars, jewellery, household items. A surviving spouse will have a right to one third of the moveable estate if there are children or one half if there are no children. The children will share a third of the estate if there is a living spouse or half the estate if there is no spouse. The rest of the estate is then distributed in accordance with the Succession (Scotland) Act 1964.

Why Should I Have a Will?

If you die without leaving a valid Will, any rights under Scots law of succession do not currently extend to unmarried partners or cohabitants; therefore, they have no automatic entitlement to any share of your estate. The Scottish Government, however, has recently launched a new consultation on the law of succession in Scotland, you can read more here.

By having an up to date Will, your money and possessions will be distributed according to your wishes. A Will protects your estate, inheritances, all assets and other items you may wish to pass on to your loved ones. A Will created by an expert can ensure your assets are passed onto and that there are no errors in your Will that could lead to a legal challenge.

If you have children, you should make a Will to protect the children in the event of the death of their primary carer. You can name a guardian in your Will and leave instructions for how they should provide care for your children.

It is also important to make sure you keep your Will up-to-date, reviewing it regularly – particularly if your circumstances have changed, this could include changes to your financial position, marriage or divorce, or the birth of a child.

Contact The McKinstry Company Wills Solicitors Today

The McKinstry Company we have extensive experience in preparing and drafting Wills. Our team of friendly and approachable solicitors are on hand to provide practical and pragmatic advice, free of legal jargon, to help you plan for the future. Contact us today on 01292 438530 (Ayr), 01465 915021 (Girvan), or fill in our online enquiry form and one of the team will be in touch.

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