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EBS Trustees offer a comprehensive Will writing service and over the years have assisted many of our clients, giving them peace of mind, knowing their wishes will be carried out when they pass on.
Our own mortality is a subject that we do not like to contemplate and so most of us put off making a Will. Indeed two thirds of people in Scotland, who are eligible to do so, have not made a Will. That figure becomes higher among unmarried cohabiting couples.
So what happens if you die without making a Will (die intestate)?
Scots Law provides limited help for unmarried couples and not much more for married couples. Spouses and Civil Partners do have certain rights known as Prior Rights where no Will has been made, and children (including adopted children but not stepchildren) of a deceased are entitled to Legal Rights whether a Will is in place or not. It is a commonly held misconception that married couples automatically receive the whole estate of their deceased spouse or civil partner but this is only the case subject to an upper limit. English Law does not have an equivalent to Legal Rights as in Scots Law. In its place, there is a provision for certain persons to make a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975. This allows not only spouses and children but also former spouses who have not re-married, persons treated by the deceased as his children, and other persons who were maintained by the deceased, to apply to the Court for an award from the estate. Dying without a Will means your estate is distributed in accordance with the law of intestate succession which may not necessarily reflect your wishes and it can lead to unnecessary delays and additional stress at an already difficult time. It can mean some estate goes to the deceased’s brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews rather than spouse/civil partner.
Making a Will ensures your estate is distributed in accordance with your wishes and gives you peace of mind knowing your loved ones are provided for. In the modern age when life can seem much more complicated, Wills are especially important. With the trend of couples living together and remaining unmarried on the rise, often with children (see case studies) or when property is involved or where people are in second marriages and quite often have children from both, it cannot be stressed enough how important it is to have a Will prepared, and if appropriate a Cohabitation Agreement.
Alternatively you may already have a Will that was made a number of years ago and since then your circumstances may have changed or indeed the law may have changed, especially if the Will was prepared prior to 2007. The right Will then, might not be the right Will now. EBS Trustees can review your current Will and advise of any changes, if any, that may be required.
EBS Trustees can offer complete advice about having a Will prepared or reviewed and thereafter offer a review service to ensure your Will is not affected by changes in the law. For an informal chat, please do not hesitate to contact us or e-mail us at Wills@ebstrustees.com. Alternatively, please complete our Estate Planning Questionnaire and return it to us and we will contact you.
Nothing on this website constitutes legal advice and EBS Trustees accepts no liability for any actions taken by any individual in reliance of what is written here.
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