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Are Scottish Wills Different?

You will often notice that when anything is talked about in legal terms, including probate and will writing, that Scotland is kept separate from England and Wales. This is because there are different laws governing the country. However, even if the laws are different, there will still be some cases wherein people have properties in both Scotland and England or Wales – and this is where confusion can lie.

The type of will you write should depend on where you are living. So if you live in Scotland, it is best to write one in line with the Scottish rules. If in England and Wales, choose to work on the English and Welsh rules. This is the case even if you have property in another country – the will you write should be connected to where you are living. Probate will be different too.

Scottish wills are different

There are some big differences between Scottish wills and English and Welsh wills. One of the biggest is that marriage does not invalidate a previous will in Scotland. Therefore, it is essential that you make a new will if you are living in Scotland and have re-married, otherwise your original will will still be valid and your ex-spouse may inherit everything when you die, even if you divorced many years ago.

In Scotland, the testator has to sign every page of the will, rather than only once at the end. And witnesses need to include their name, address, and occupation. However, unlike in the rest of the UK, it is possible for a will to be written and signed by the testator without any witnesses, or if the witnesses are also beneficiaries, using a special handwritten statement. If you choose to do this, then it is imperative that you have expert advice, as failing to adhere to the rules could make your will invalid.

The spouse and children have ‘prior rights’ under Scottish law so that they cannot be deliberately excluded from inheriting. The spouse would be entitled to the house to the value of £65,000, furnishings to £12,000 plus cash to £21,000 if there are children or £35,000 if there are no children.

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