You might wonder what is so bad about not having a will? Well, it’s not quite as bad as not having a Power of Attorney but it is certainly not advisable.
Not having a will means that the state says who gets your property, and it might not be who you think or who you would expect. The state rules (created in the 1960s) take no account of special items or relationships.
Where you do not make a will you get no choice as to who deals with your estate. Where you have not appointed an executor the court needs to appoint someone to wind up your estate. This is costly and requires a formal legal process. The person appointed by the court as your executor will be required to obtain an insurance policy known as a bond of caution which incurs further costs. All in all there are many legal hoops to jump through for your family when you don’t set up a will.
So what are the benefits of having a will?
- You get to say who gets your property and you choose who you want to wind up your estate.
- Its quicker and cheaper than the alternative.
- Prevents family arguments over what your wishes were, this is really important at such a distressing time.
- It shows care and thought for your family.
It is sometimes easier to explain the importance of a will using an example:
Mrs Smith came into the office in the early 90s. Mr Smith, her husband of 40 years had died. They were a well-known local couple involved in various clubs and organisations. Mr Smith was actually American - he had come to Scotland during the war and stayed.
Mr Smith had no will and so intestate succession rules were applied. The administration was stated and it was discovered that Mr and Mrs Smith had never actually married. So far so bad but it gets worse. Mr Smith was indeed married - but to an American lady he had not seen for 40 + years. They had never divorced.
Yes you can guess the rest – the American wife got everything and Mrs Smith got nothing. That was the law and not much has changed. Now you can at least apply to court to have an award from an estate due to an informal relationship but any award is completely discretionary.
Bad things like these happen if you don’t think ahead.
A simple will leaving everything to your spouse or your children is a two page document. It could stand the test of time and gives you complete piece of mind that your family will be looked after on your death.
As with the Power of Attorney it would only require two visits to a solicitor. The same two visits as the POA and then it is in place and you can put it to the back of your mind.
Find out more information on making a Will by visiting our FAQs page. If your mind is already made up on making a will, contact us today for a reliable, affordable service.