A change in the law governing intestate succession

1 February 2012

February has brought with it a change in the rules governing how intestate estates (where the deceased person did not leave a Will) are distributed in Scotland. From today, the share which can be claimed by a spouse will potentially be larger. If you are married, your spouse’s claim under ‘prior rights’ can already be extensive and can  catch most assets, from the family home and savings, right down to the TV set and the family silver. Today’s change increases the limits on what can be claimed under these provisions. In most cases the spouse’s claim will swallow the majority if not the whole of the estate and today’s change makes this outcome more likely.

For some people, this will reflect the best outcome, but this may not be the case for everyone and some will be surprised that, in many cases, the spouse will inherit everything rather than the deceased person’s children.

The system for governing intestate succession must necessarily attempt to be a ‘one size fits all’ but every family is unique and the only way to set out clearly what you wish to happen to your estate in your particular circumstances is to make a Will.

The administration of an estate where no Will has been made can also be more complicated in terms of sheer paperwork (and corresponding expense if a solicitor is involved) than an estate where the person has made a Will. It may take longer to sort out and may cause more of an emotional headache for those left behind when they are forced to make decisions without knowing for sure what their loved one wanted to happen.

Arranging a Will does not take very long and is not an expensive thing to do – Inksters can prepare a simple Will for around £100 and if you are over 55, our participation in Barnardo's Free Will Scheme means we may be able to do it for free.

If you wish to discuss your circumstances and the type of Will which might be appropriate for you, please get in touch with our Brian Inkster on 0141 229 0880 or send Brian an e-mail.  

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