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Making a will

Peace of mind. Security. Protection. Quite simply, making a Will is one of the most important things you can do to safeguard your loved ones and your assets. Having a Will ensures your money, property and possessions go to those you care about. It also allows you to appoint Guardians to look after your young children, leave legacies to charities and make funeral arrangements. Having an up-to-date Will gives your family the confidence of knowing they have been provided for and gives you comfort in knowing that your affairs are in order. Without a Will, your assets could be made over to people you would not expect or desire to inherit from your estate.

A Will gives your family the confidence of knowing they have been provided for and gives you comfort in knowing your affairs are in order.

Your surviving spouse has certain rights called Prior Rights to the house, to its furnishings and to cash, each up to a defined value which changes every few years. Your spouse and children have automatic Legal Rights to a share of the moveable property. Your moveable estate includes such things as money, shares, cars, furniture and jewellery. The remaining estate, once Prior Rights and Legal Rights have been claimed, is divided in a particular order, with children, parents and siblings all inheriting before a surviving spouse.

Many people are also under the impression that if they have lived together with a partner for a number of years and they are cohabiting, that their estate will pass to their partner. However, a cohabitant has no automatic right to inherit anything and that is the case no matter how long a couple live together.

A cohabitant can ask the court for a share of the estate if their cohabitant dies without a Will. The claim must be made within six months of the date of death. The court may decide not to award anything and cannot award more than a spouse could inherit. The court considers a number of factors such as the size of the estate, any other money received by the cohabitant from pensions etc, the extent of any other claims and whether Prior and Legal Rights have been claimed by a spouse or any children.

Whilst it can seem rather morbid thinking about your own mortality, one of the most important things we can do for our loved ones is to ensure that there are clear instructions setting out our wishes. The only way is to set it out in a properly prepared Will. This means that you are given the choice to divide your assets amongst family, friends and causes you care about.

Writing a Will is prudent planning for the future and ensures that those who are left behind are not burdened with the often onerous and expensive task of administering your estate without a Will. We cannot predict the future, but we can help you plan for it, providing comfort that your ffairs are all in order.

For further advice, please contact Laura Burns on 0131 516 5359 or email lburns@gilsongray.co.uk.