MAKING A WILL
Making a Will is one of the most important things we can do – after all it determines how our most personal possessions and hard-earned savings will be shared among close family and friends. It is often a simple and inexpensive process. However failure to make a Will can pose major difficulties for those left behind, for instance, by paying more tax than necessary. Your estate – money, other assets and possessions – could be distributed according to the law rather than your wishes. It is particularly important to leave instructions if you own property.
The Contents of a Will
It is advisable to consult a solicitor before deciding what to put in your Will. A Will can cover a range of issues, including:
- Who should inherit your property, money, other assets and possessions;
- How your children should be cared for;
- Who should be responsible for ensuring your wishes are carried out (the executors);
- Special arrangements for your funeral; and
- Charitable donations you would like to make.How a Solicitor Can HelpWills are often straightforward but some involve complicated arrangements. Even is your Will is simple and you want to write it yourself, it is advisable to consult a solicitor to avoid pitfalls and ensure all the legal formalities have been followed correctly, otherwise it may be invalid. DIY and internet Wills are available but there are obvious risks where no personal advice is given.
- Acting as an executor: Executors are responsible for dealing with assets of the estate. Solicitors are often named as executors when a Will is drawn up. Others, such as family members, can also act as executors.
- Going to Court: If there is no Will, it may be necessary to apply to the Sheriff Court to appoint an executor. A Solicitor will have to prepare the forms for the Court to appoint the executor, who is usually the nearest next of kin and may not be who would have been chosen had a Will be made.
- Changing a Will: Changes can easily be made to Wills – a solicitor will ensure they are legally binding.
- Keeping a Will safe: It is important to keep your Will safe. If your solicitor has drawn up the Will, he or she will usually keep the original and send you a copy.For any advice in connection with making a Will please call Elaine Grounds, Law Society of Scotland Registered Paralegal (Wills & Executries) on 01577 86302