Almost a year after Covid-19 forced the entire country into lockdown, a recent YouGov survey has found that 23% of women and 19% of men are now more likely to create a Will. These numbers reflect the seismic impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the population's mindset towards organising their affairs and ensuring their estate passes in the way they intended.
The survey also revealed, however, that 59% of adults do not have a valid Will and around three quarters of those surveyed have little knowledge of what would happen to their estate if they die before executing their Will.
What happens if I die without a Will?
There are often misconceptions about what happens to an individual's estate after they pass away. It may be thought that everything passes to their spouse and there is no need to have a Will executed. Equally, it can also be presumed that those closest to them will automatically be entitled to deal with winding up the estate when the person passes away. Although sometimes true, these presumptions do not always prove to be the case in practise.
In Scotland, the laws of intestacy apply to individuals who die without a valid Will. These rules determine how the estate is distributed and are usually determined by the survivorship of family members. The rules may also direct different asset types e.g. heritable or moveable, in different directions. Often additional costs are associated with winding up an estate without a Will too, as there would be a requirement to obtain a Bond of Caution (i.e. an insurance policy against the wrongful distribution of an estate) and court fees associated with having an executor appointed to deal with the estate.
Why should I not take the risk?
If Covid-19 has proven anything over the past twelve or so months, it is that nobody knows what is around the corner. The only sure way of knowing that your estate will be dealt with by those you trust most is to have a Will drafted and validly executed. The document will outline your instructions with regard to how, and to whom, your assets will pass when you die.
It can also ensure a degree of control is maintained over assets that pass on death, perhaps by ensuring certain beneficiaries must reach a specific age prior to inheriting their share, it can inform your executor of who you wish to look after your children and can even include your funeral instructions.
Get in touch - we're here to help
Should you wish to discuss making or updating a Will, please do not hesitate to contact the Private Client team at Harper Macleod using the form below or call one of our offices on:
Elgin: 01343 542623
We have solicitors working from home across the country, ready to help in person or over the phone or on a zoom call.
We can provide the assistance you need to protect your assets and your loved ones. This will allow you to put your mind at ease, knowing everything is in hand.