Reading an article the other day unexpectedly gave me some inspiration for this blog.  It got me thinking about the reasons for making a Will.  We all know the usual reasons: to leave your assets and items of sentimental value to your beneficiaries.  However, there can be many other reasons.

For example, who is entitled to make funeral arrangements and decide what those arrangements should be?  In most cases this is not a matter for dispute but recently I did hear of a situation where a family friend had made arrangements which were contrary to the wishes of the deceased’s family.   Without a Will, it would generally be the next of kin, however, what if your friend knows better than your family what your wishes would be?  In a Will, you can direct not only who should have responsibility for this but also specify your own wishes.

In our increasingly complex lives, another reason can be to leave bequests to persons who would not otherwise succeed to your estate in terms of the Succession (Scotland) Act 1964 (the “Act”), which is the legislation which directs what happens to your estate if you die without making a valid Will.  For example,  what if a person dies unmarried and without children or remoter issue and they are survived by full blood and half blood siblings?   Succession law provides that if brothers and sisters of a deceased have a right to the whole or half of the estate then full blood siblings are given  preference over half blood siblings.

Another reason can be to exclude a person who would otherwise inherit under Succession Law (such as an estranged child), although you should be aware that even if you do exclude a child from your Will that child may have legal rights which means that they could claim a proportion of your moveable estate.

What if you are closer to certain members of your family than others? The law does not differentiate along such lines, so even if you have no contact with certain members of your family, without leaving a Will those family members could inherit to the exclusion of or to the same extent as the family members you are in contact with.

Finally, what if inheriting a large sum of money could be problematic for certain members of your family?  Without leaving a Will which provides for a specific age at which a beneficiary would inherit,  a beneficiary who has reached the age of 16 years would be entitled to receive their share even if it is not advisable either due to their young age or perhaps due a tendency to be profligate.  Or what of the disabled beneficiary who is unable to manage their own affairs? Such a beneficiary would inherit without any mechanism for managing or protecting the inheritance on their behalf and if they are in receipt of benefits these could be withdrawn or reduced as a result.

Contact our Wills Lawyers Glasgow

So if this blog has got you thinking about a specific situation that could affect your estate or your beneficiaries on death or if you simply want to revisit your existing Will to ensure that it is still fit for purpose then contact the Private Client team at Dallas McMillan who will be happy to help.