Making a Will in Scotland

There are a number of key differences for a will made in Scotland, which need to be highlighted:

Intestacy

If you do not make a will in Scotland before you die, the law is as follows:

If there is a spouse but no other close family, such as children, parents, brothers and sisters etc., then the spouse benefits from the whole estate.

If there is a spouse and there are children, then the spouse can have property (or £50,000 if it is worth more) furniture and personal possessions up to a value of £10,000, cash up to £15,000 and a third of the remainder of the estate (excluding other property). Children (or their children) share what is left in equal proportion.

If there is no spouse or children, but there are parents, brothers and sisters then the parents take half of the estate and the other half is divided equally between any brothers and sisters or their children. Where only one of these groups is alive, those concerned benefit from the whole estate.

If none of the above applies, then the following benefit, in this order:

Full uncles/aunts or their children
Half uncles/aunts or their children
Grandparents
Full great uncles/aunts (or descendants)
Half great uncles/aunts (or descendants)
Great grandparents

If no relatives can be found then the Crown takes the estate and can distribute it among anyone with a reasonable claim.

Age

Whereas in the rest of the UK you need to be over 18 to make a will, in Scotland the age limit is lower. For a male it is over fourteen and twelve for a female.

Marriage

In Scotland, marriage does not revoke a will

Children

Elsewhere in the United Kingdom this applies to illegitimate and adopted children, in Scotland you have to specify their status in the will. If you have children after making a will and have not made any mention of them the will is considered null and void. A new will needs to be produced.

Presentation

If you produce the whole of your will by hand, then you do not need any witnesses. You must sign the bottom of every page, nit just the last page. If the will is not completely handwritten then you will need two witnesses.

Claims against your estate

In Scotland, the spouse and children have more rights to claim against the estate than the rest of the UK, even if there is provision in the will to specifically exclude them. The law equally applies against any claims from others who were partly or totally dependent on the dead person before death.