What is a Will?
A Will is a document which describes what you want to happen to your possessions and money after your death. Essentially this includes everything owned by a person at the time they pass away. Should you require the help of a Solicitor, our Will writing services in Edinburgh can take care of this for you.
In the document, Executors are appointed and it is those Executors of the Will who are the people responsible for winding up the estate, gathering in any funds, paying any debts and distributing the estate to those entitled to inherit, known as the beneficiaries. Guardians may also be appointed to look after the interests of any young children.
Quill Legal are Edinburgh Will lawyers. If you are considering making a Will in Edinburgh or other parts of Scotland in particular in some of the towns around Edinburgh, from Bonnyrigg to Broxburn and from Dalmeny to Danderhall, or if you simply want advice on making a Will please get in touch with us for assistance.
Why is it important to write a Will?
Making a Will in Scotland is not only for the older generation or for the rich. A Will is for everyone and ensures that your money and possessions will be inherited by the people you choose, rather than by those provided by the law in cases where there is no Will.
More than half the adult population in the United Kingdom have no Will but you should consider having one when you own a property or have any savings, when you have children or acquire grandchildren, when you marry or divorce.
Having a well drafted Will in place and putting your affairs in order gives you some control and will provide you with peace of mind; it can help to ensure that the interests of future generations, your children and grandchildren, are protected, maximising the potential for tax exemptions to apply and taking account of your particular individual and family circumstances.
Keep in mind that Will writing in Scotland follows different rules from those which apply in England and if you have an English Will it would be prudent to talk to us about whether it is adequate should you have relocated to Scotland.
The best way to make a Will is to talk to an experienced Will lawyer in Edinburgh or elsewhere and this will ensure that your personal wishes are reflected in the terms of your Will. Quill Legal provides Will writing in Edinburgh and we will be happy to talk to you about your individual circumstances and any concerns you may have. We will offer you advice on the appropriate Will for your particular situation.
What happens if there is no Will?
If a person dies without making a Will that person is described as dying intestate. In those circumstances the law provides that the surviving spouse or civil partner is entitled to claim prior rights. They may inherit the deceased’s house, up to a value of £473,000, a portion of the furniture up to a value of £29,000 and a cash sum of £50,000 where there are children or £89,000 if there are none.
After payment of the surviving spouse’s or civil partner’s prior rights the moveable estate must be divided, taking into account the entitlement of the deceased’s children, civil partner and spouse to claim their legal rights. Moveable estate means property other than buildings and includes money, vehicles, shares, jewellery and other personal possessions.
Where there are children the spouse or partner is entitled to one third and the children to one third between them.
Where there are no children the spouse or partner is entitled to one half and where there is no partner or spouse the children are entitled to one half. Legal rights may be claimed even where there is a Will.
Obtaining the services of an experienced Will lawyer in Edinburgh will help you to avoid the difficulties of failing to make a Will or the consequences of failing to deal with claims for legal rights.
What should be included in a Will?
When making a Will in Edinburgh it is important to consider the following:
- Choice of trustworthy Executors
- Who is to benefit from any legacies and who is to inherit the main part of your estate
- Whether you wish to set any limitations, such as the age at which a young person may receive their inheritance
- Whether there may be inheritance tax to pay and if you need advice on ways in which to minimise your estate’s tax liability
- If you are concerned about care home costs whether there are steps you can take to protect your assets for future generations
- The rights of any spouse or children to claim their legal rights against your estate and the likelihood of a party contesting the Will for any reason
- Whether you wish to include the arrangements you want to be made for your funeral
- Selection of an experienced Will lawyer in Edinburgh
You can trust Quill Legal to assist you in your decision making on all of these points. Please get in touch to make a suitable appointment to meet.
Types of Wills you can make
Different types of Will are appropriate to suit the individual circumstances of the person making the Will. In Scotland the age of capacity for making a Will is 12 years and in appropriate circumstances anyone over that age can sign a Will disposing of their assets.
A married couple with children from previous relationships may wish to ensure that their Wills make provision for their spouse but also that their own children inherit after the death of the second spouse and in that case a liferent trust Will may be appropriate.
Unmarried couples without children will need to consider whether they want their partner to inherit their half share of any jointly owned property and to make provision for that in their Will; unmarried couples have no automatic entitlement to their partner’s assets.
A single person may want to benefit a charity or a friend rather than a member of their own family or they may wish to make provision for all of them.
When couples wish to reflect the terms of their spouse’s Will in their own Will we refer to them making mirror Wills
Where someone wishes to make arrangements to protect their assets or to safeguard the inheritance of a young person their Will may be drafted to include trust provisions.
A living Will is not a Will in the true sense of the word. It may also be referred to as an ‘advance directive’. It is designed to ensure that your wishes are clear should you be unable to make them known to those caring for you if you become ill. Living Wills are of doubtful authority in Scotland but may be persuasive if the granter understood the nature of the treatment which is referred to in the directive and the probable effect of refusing such treatment.
Quill Legal are experienced Will lawyers in Edinburgh and will assist you to make the right choices when you decide to make your Will.
Benefits of using a Solicitor to make a Will
Using the services of a Solicitor for Will writing in Edinburgh will mean that your decisions are well informed and that your particular set of circumstances are taken into account.
Your family and those close to you will not be exposed after your death to the additional stress which might arise should you die without making a Will.
You yourself will benefit from a sense of inner calm and the knowledge that you have placed your affairs in order.
How much does making a Will cost in Edinburgh?
People often ask how much is it to make a Will? It is difficult to define the average cost of making a Will in Edinburgh.
Fees may be quoted for standard Wills and for Wills which include trust provisions and non standard clauses. As each person’s circumstances are different, their Wills will vary accordingly. It is often the case that it will cost more to administer an estate where there is no Will, than when there is a Will and so it makes financial sense to have a formal Will in place.
Quill Legal has set fees for drawing up standard and non standard Wills for individuals and for couples, as laid out below. Couples benefit from a discount of £50 where mirror Wills are instructed.
- Standard Will: £200
- Couple Wills: £350
In every case we will quote a fee before carrying out any work for you and we will seek your agreement to that sum before drawing up your Will. We are committed to a transparent pricing system, which is fair to our clients and designed to make our services accessible.
As well as providing discounts to couples, we also offer discounts to staff members of the University of Edinburgh and Falkirk Council – please contact us for details or consult your staff discount scheme handbook.
Yes – a Power of Attorney ceases to have effect after a death and Attorneys have no authority to wind up an estate. A Will allows you to appoint Executors and to make decisions about the distribution of your estate, any legacies payable, the appointment of guardians to young children and your desired funeral arrangements.
Family members or friends may be appointed or sometimes professional advisers. Beneficiaries of the estate may also act as Executors.
An Executor must ensure that a deceased person’s wishes as laid out in the Will are followed or, if there is no Will, that the estate is divided according to the rules of intestacy.
Where there is no Will an Executor will have to be appointed by the Sheriff Court. If Confirmation is required the Executor will make an application to the Sheriff Court, often with the assistance of a solicitor. Out of pocket expenses are refundable by the estate and an Executor will not incur any personal expense.
A Will can provide for the appointment of a guardian to safeguard the interests of any children, should both parents die when the children are under the age of 16 years. It is prudent to also appoint a substitute.
Yes - advice should be taken from an experienced solicitor who will be able to draft an appropriately worded Will to deal with this, possibly allowing your spouse to remain in the family home until death when the property will be inherited by your children.
It is important to ensure that you review your Will every so often and in particular when your circumstances change, for instance when one of your beneiving spouse who inheritsficiaries dies or you get married. A mere change of address does not mean that a new Will or an amendment is required.
When making a new Will any previous Wills are revoked. To avoid confusion it is prudent to destroy any old Wills once the new Will has been signed. Quill Legal can attend to this for you and will uplift your old Will from any solicitor who assisted you in the past. We will help with the crucial task of drafting the appropriate Will for you, ensuring that your possessions and your money are distributed as you wish after your death.
Yes – in Scotland children can inherit at the age of 16 so your Will may be drafted to provide that a young beneficiary’s inheritance should be held in trust until he attains a specified age, for example 21. Where there is no Will this option of course would not be available.
This will depend on the complexity and the size of the estate, whether there is a Will and on the number of people due to inherit. The estate should not be distributed before a period of six months has passed because creditors have six months within which to make a claim against the estate.
In Scotland your spouse and children cannot be completely disinherited, even if they are estranged and you have not included them in your Will. Unless they discharge their rights, they could still claim a portion of the moveable part of your estate, which generally is the money and does not include the value of any land or buildings. Such claims are known as claims to legal rights and the amount will depend on whether there are both surviving spouse and children. Expert advice should be taken to ensure that a correct assessment is made.
The Executor appointed in the Will can appoint any suitable solicitor and that does not need to be the solicitor who drew up the Will.
Inheritance tax may be payable on estates valued at over £325,000 but that will depend on all the circumstances, including whether there is a surviving spouse who inherits and whether the family home is left to any children. The rules are complicated. Quill Legal can make the necessary calculations and determine whether any tax exemptions will apply. Executors might require to borrow funds because tax has to be paid before an application can be made to the Sheriff Court for Confirmation.