Scottish Wills - What is a Last Will & Testament


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What is a Last Will & Testament!

In Scotland a legal Will, more formally known as a last will and testament, is a legal document that expresses your desires and intentions regarding the distribution of your real and personal assets or property following your death. Your Last Will and Testament document specifies how, when and even why you want your property apportioned between your relatives, friends and charities. In most cases, your heirs must respect the instructions set out in your Last Will regarding the distribution of your property.

In addition to the distribution of your assets, your last will and testament also appoints one or more people to act as executor or executors of your Will. Once appointed your executor will be charged with the task of carrying out the instructions set out in your Last Will and winding up your affairs generally following your death. 


When you have not made a last will and testament, the decisions as to how your residuary estate will be distributed and who will act as executor of your estate will be made by the Scottish probate court in accordance with Scottish intestacy laws (i.e. the laws that apply where a person dies without a valid will).  The consequences of this can be severe; people may receive which they would not have otherwise received. Also the tax and legal fees may increase substantially without a will.


The author of a Last Will & Testament is known as the ‘testator’ as he is “attesting” to his wishes as set out in his Will. The term ‘testator’ has become gender neutral over the years and as such it refers to both male and female Will makers. That said, it is not uncommon to see the female designation of the word (‘testatrix’) used, particularly in older Wills. 


A Last Will and Testament is a fundamental part of estate planning and features in the vast majority of estate plans.





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