You may be surprised to learn that only about one third of people die having made a Will. The remaining two-thirds will have lost control over the way in which their estate is distributed after their death. This can be avoided very simply by making a Will. It is not always a complicated process but you will need advice to ensure that your wishes are stated in a legally correct way. We can provide assistance no matter how simple or complex your affairs and help to ensure that the process is as painless as possible for your beneficiaries.
Tax may also be an important factor to consider in preparing your Will and we can provide current information which will help you to make appropriate provisions.
Preparing a typical Will is relatively inexpensive and where straightforward "mirror" Wills are prepared for a couple our fees are discounted. If more complicated provisions are involved (e.g. creating a trust), the cost will be greater but we are happy to discuss this aspect with you before proceeding.
By creating a Trust you may be able to avoid unnecessary taxes and control how, when and to what extent the trust beneficiaries may benefit. If your estate is likely to attract an Inheritance Tax liability on your death, we may be able to offer advice on how to mitigate that liability for example by making lifetime gifts of your property or by settling it on trust.
When someone dies it can be a very stressful and confusing time. Normally relatives or close friends of the deceased will deal with immediate problems, such as arranging the funeral and obtaining the Death Certificate. If the death was unexpected, there can be delays in these processes, however, in most cases the matter is fairly straightforward.
Someone will have to deal with the administration of the "estate", that is, the money and other assets of the person who has died. Where the deceased has left a Will, an executor will have been nominated in the Will. However if no Will is left, an executor must be nominated by decree issued by the Sheriff Court.
Except in the case of small estates, it is normally necessary for the executor to apply to the Sheriff Court for a grant of "Confirmation", which is the Court's authority to the executor to administer and to distribute the deceased's estate. Depending on the size of the estate, it may be possible for you to handle this yourself with the assistance of the Sheriff Clerk. In large or more complicated estates, the application must be submitted by a Solicitor. If the estate is liable to Inheritance Tax this is payable by the end of the 6th month after the date on which the person died, otherwise interest will accrue on the outstanding tax.
The executor has the responsibility of ensuring that the estate goes to the correct beneficiaries. These may be detailed in the terms of a Will where one exists, or if there is no Will, in accordance with the laws of intestate succession.
Tait & Peterson can provide an experienced, friendly and sensitive service to assist you in these matters.
If you require advice or further information, please contact us