Making a Will is the first step in ensuring that your intentions for the future are brought into being after your death. Wills are something which are often not at the forefront of people’s mind, but the difficulty that a family left behind can face when there is no Will cannot be underestimated.
Whatever the circumstances, young or old, sudden or expected, it is a difficult time for everyone. The expertise which we bring to planning ahead and dealing with the estate later is second to none. Our service is not just about the law, it is about understanding our clients’ needs and wishes and bringing peace of mind in a compassionate way.
When a loved one passes away, there are certain steps that have to be taken to transfer the assets from the person who has died to the people who are entitled to receive them.
Having a well drafted Will lets you make your own choices about who will be dealing with your estate, who receives what and when. In Scotland there are certain legal rights that a spouse or civil partner and children have which can complicate matters, and which can sometimes be overlooked. We can advise on the pitfalls and help you to reach your preferred solutions.
Tax planning and succession, transfer and use of assets, investment advice all form part of the specialist service we provide when helping you to draft a Will.
Wills and executries and all the related issues that arise from them are a big part of what we do and our aim is to guide clients through the transition as smoothly as possible.
How can we help?
Making a Will
There are now many different forms of families since the last major reform of the law of succession in Scotland in 1964. A great deal has changed since then, including there being many more family units where the parents have been married before or where they have chosen not to marry. One key matter is that the age of legal capacity in Scotland is 16, meaning that relatively young people could become entitled to large sums of money.
There are certain formalities involved in signing a Will, like making sure each page is signed and the signing is witnessed. Wording which may seem obvious to one person might be interpreted differently by someone else. Our Will writing services can prevent these sorts of problems occurring. We can also cover things that you might not have considered.
It is important too to know that a Will may not cover everything. A pension pot, for example, may require a nomination separate from the Will.
Dealing with an estate involves a mixture of legal knowledge and administration. You need to understand the framework and why things have to be done in a particular way. A bank for example needs to be sure that they are giving the money they hold to the right person. If they don’t, they can find themselves out of pocket.
You also need to be well organised and keep good accounting records. An executor’s authority to deal with an estate comes from the Confirmation (probate) which is granted by the sheriff court. The paperwork needs to be presented to the court in the way the court wants it. HM Revenue and Customs have an interest in what is happening and they too have a form to be completed.
A bit like the funeral, dealing with the estate is a necessary process. Often it is only when this is complete that the people involved feel ready to move on. We want to help with that.
Challenges to Wills
Challenges to Wills are relatively rare. However, they can cause real difficulty for all concerned in the administration of an estate. No matter what the dispute or challenge, we have a team of specialist lawyers who will be able to guide you through this difficult time. Whether you require to prove the tenor of a Will where part or all of the Will is missing or lost; whether you feel you have been unfairly left out of a Will and wish to insist on your legal rights or contest a Will; whether you wish to contest a Will on the basis that someone deceased was unduly influenced, or they never had the capacity to instruct a Will; or whether you are an executor and someone else is contesting a Will and your administration of an estate (similar to probate in England), we have the expertise in this complex area.
We have dealt with many court cases and understand the complexities of the law and the court procedure to guide you through this difficult time. We will provide you with a clear understanding of the legal issues at the outset and ensure that our advice and support is tailored to your individual needs throughout.