At any stage of your life, approaching a solicitor to provide you with a Will can feel premature or all too easy to dismiss. Perhaps it feels as though it can be put off until you feel you really need one. You might even see the need for one, but think it is best to hold off until after you hit a particular milestone, such as home ownership or marriage. Maybe you don’t think it makes any difference at all as to what happens to your estate after you have passed.
Whatever your circumstances, the truth is that there really is no better time to have a Will drafted than today because no one knows what is around the corner and the benefits of knowing who is dealing with your estate, who will inherit, and who can make a claim against your estate can provide invaluable peace of mind.
Appointment of an Executor
When you have a Will made it is key that it appoints an Executor or Executors. Often the Executor is a spouse or family member and someone who is trusted by you to deal with your estate, but it could be anyone that you trust. It is also common practice to appoint a second or a backup Executor to prevent a situation whereby the Executor has passed before you and a different, unintended Executor has to be appointed at the cost of your estate.
Without a Will appointing an Executor your beneficiaries can find themselves with the added hurdle of needing a solicitor to ask the court to appoint an Executor, obtain an insurance policy (called a ‘Bond of Caution’), and deal with ingathering your assets and the distribution of your estate. As the cost of these comes reduces the value of your estate, they will consequently reduce what your beneficiaries receive.
Providing for Beneficiaries
One of the central questions that an Executor and your beneficiaries may face when you pass is what exactly it is you wanted to happen to your estate. Perhaps you have a child that has particular needs that you want to give a specific legacy to or prioritise over your other children, you may want to make sure that a particular item is left to a loved relative, or maybe you want to ensure that the whole of your estate goes to your surviving spouse.
In addition to deciding who will inherit, your Will can also exclude beneficiaries from inheriting from your estate. This is somewhat complicated in Scotland by Legal Rights, which are rights that a spouse or partner, and your children (including adopted children) have to a share of your estate should they want to claim these. Ultimately, whether Legal Rights are claimed or not, being able to exclude beneficiaries from your Will provides your Executor and beneficiaries with a clear indication of who you wanted to benefit from your estate.
Accounting for a change of circumstances: Updating your Will
Having had a Will made your estate may be left in a much safer state than it might be otherwise, but if your family makeup has recently changed through separation, divorce, bereavement, or (more happily) starting a new relationship, then it is recommended that you have your Will updated to reflect your current circumstances and the beneficiaries you want to benefit from your estate.
These points are able to be taken into account when having a Will drafted and you can be advised by one of our Private Client solicitors as to any issues with your wishes so that you are fully aware of any hurdles that your Executor and beneficiaries are likely to come across and also of any potential solutions to these
Having Jones Whyte assist you in making a Will is a straightforward, cost-effective way of ensuring your estate is dealt with by someone you trust so that your loved ones and beneficiaries are provided for. For more information please contact us on 0330 175 1234 or complete our contact form to book an appointment with one of our Private Client solicitors.
Contact Our Bereavement Team
Contact our experienced and sympathetic bereavement team for further information or advice.