Alumnus and Partner & Head of the Private Client Team at Ledingham Chalmers Solicitors, Craig Pike, tells us why it is vitally important to write a will.
Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE)-commissioned research published in 2022 reported 52% of people in Scotland did not have a will.
If you die intestate (without a will) the law decides who will inherit your assets, and the implications are far-reaching.
This robs you of choice. Not only could your loved ones miss out on the inheritance you’d want them to have, but the administration of your estate could face prolonged delays and create severe family turmoil at what is already a difficult time.
It might feel like something that can wait, but life is unexpected. If you have an accident or sudden illness, it can be too late.
Reasons to draft a will
1.You have a choice.
Having a will in place means you have the choice about how your estate assets will be distributed. For example, you have your choice of executor — the individual you nominate to administer your estate. You can also ensure a smooth transition to the future owners of your family business, or name guardians for your young children.
2. Provide for your loved ones
Many people don’t realise a cohabiting couple who aren’t married, or in a civil partnership, will not automatically inherit one another’s assets without a will. In these days of blended families, it is important to update your will after significant events, such as divorce or remarriage, to ensure that your will still reflects your wishes.
With a will, you can clarify your intentions and include provisions tailored to your circumstances. This gives some peace of mind that any children, stepchildren or vulnerable adults are financially secure and cared for, should the worst happen.
3. Leaving a gift to charity
You may also consider leaving a gift to a charitable organisation you support.
Gifts to charities are exempt from inheritance tax, regardless of their value. Depending on the level of the gift, this could also make you eligible for a reduction in inheritance tax owed, which is helpful to the balance of your estate.
Craig Pike, Partner & Head of the Private Client Team at Ledingham Chalmers Solicitors
The University has partnered with Bequeathed to offer an exclusive free will writing service. This free service involves a three-step process to make a standard will. If your circumstances are more complicated and you require further legal advice, they will explain what’s needed and give you a quote to consider, with no obligation to accept. There is an opportunity to consider donating to the University, but there is no obligation to do so. You can find out more about Bequeathed here.