Many adults in Scotland still don't have a Will. Statistics regularly report on the high percentage of the population who do not have a Will. Whilst the statistics do improve as we age, there is still a startling number of people without a Will.
Why don't people make a Will? Understandably most people don't like discussing their own mortality. Many people assume that they don't need a Will and that their assets will automatically pass to the person whom they would wish to benefit; but this is not always the case. Research suggests that the main reason people have not made a Will is simply because they have not got round to it. Meeting with a solicitor to discuss what happens with your estate on your death unlikely to be at the top of anyone's to do list.
Are Wills just for old people? Unfortunately we often see reports in the media of young adults who have lost their lives, highlighting that fact that Wills are not just for the elderly. Young people often overlook the importance of having a Will and see this as something they can deal with later in life. However, making a Will ensures you control who inherits your estate.
Do I need a Will? We recommend that every person aged 16 and over in Scotland ought to have a Will. This will ensure that your wishes, on how your estate is to be distributed, are met when you die. Some people do not necessarily need a Will, however it is important that you speak with a solicitor to obtain the appropriate legal advice.
I already have a Will do I need to update it? You should review your Will at least every five years in case your circumstances have changed. It may not necessarily need updated this often, but it is good to check your Will to ensure it still meets your wishes. If there are any changes in your personal circumstances, for example a separation or a death of a beneficiary, then you may want to update your Will. There are other changes, like a change of address, that will not necessarily require you to update your Will and a simple note placed with your Will may be sufficient. If you are making simple changes to your Will, for example revoking the appointment of an executor and appointing someone else in their place, then this can be done by a Codicil rather than having a new Will prepared.
Megan MacLean is an Associate in our Private Client team. If you have questions about drafting a Will please contact Megan on 0131 225 8705 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org, alternatively please contact any member of the Private Client team.