Making a will is one of the most important things we can do - after all it determines how our most personal possessions and hard-earned savings will be shared among close family and friends.
It is often a simple and inexpensive process. But failure to make a will can pose major difficulties for those left behind, for instance, by paying more tax than necessary. Your estate - money, other assets and possessions - could be distributed according to the law rather than your wishes. It is particularly important to leave instructions if you own property.
Some solicitors offer a free service in return for a donation to charity, for instance, those participating in www.willaid.org.uk during November and www.willreliefscotland.co.uk, which provides a similar service every September.
It is advisable to consult a solicitor before deciding what to put in your will. A will can cover a range of issues, including:
- who should inherit your property, money, other assets and possessions
- how your children should be cared for
- who should be responsible for looking after your estate (the executors)
- special arrangements for your funeral
- and charitable donations you would like to make
Wills are often straightforward but some involve complicated arrangements and financial affairs, such as inheritance tax - all the more reason to ensure they are drawn up by a qualified solicitor. You can search here if you need help finding a solicitor. Even if your will is simple and you want to write it yourself, it is advisable to consult a solicitor to avoid pitfalls and ensure all the legal formalities have been followed correctly, otherwise it may be invalid. DIY and internet wills are available but there are obvious risks where no personal advice is given.
You can also view more information on why a solicitor is the best person to make your will.
Your solicitor can help your family or executors contact undertakers and arrange for the death certificate to be issued by the General Register Office for Scotland.
Executors are responsible for dealing with assets of the estate. Solicitors are often named as executors when a will is drawn up. Others, such as family members, can also act as executors.
If there is no will, it may be necessary to apply to the sheriff court to appoint an executor. A solicitor will have to prepare the forms for the court to appoint the executor.
Changes can easily be made to wills - a solicitor will ensure they are legally binding.
It is important to keep your will safe. If your solicitor has drawn up the will, he or she will usually keep the original and send you a copy.
A simple will can cost very little. Others may qualify for legal aid funding. Give you solicitor a call today to discuss your options and the likely costs.
Without particular details of the solicitor or the firm in which they practised, we’re afraid we cannot trace who the solicitor would be from our database. You could try contacting the Registers of Scotland on 0800 169 9391.
Alternative suggestions would be to check with solicitors in the area where your relative lived to see if they have a copy or ask a solicitor to advertise in the Journal (our members’ monthly magazine) for information.
For a list of solicitors operating in the area in which the deceased person lived, use our Find a Solicitor tool. Finally, you can check with a Sheriff Court in the appropriate district as on certain occasions they may be able to help.
Potentially, yes, but it’s best you give us a call on 0131 226 7411.
This may come down to disclosure of interest/conflict of interest. Solicitors must not write a will for a client where they (or anyone close to them such as a spouse or business partner) will benefit from that will. Where these situations arise, the solicitor must advise the client to use another firm of solicitors. It could also be the case that the solicitor in question does not specialise in private client work.