Scottish Wills - Changing a Scottish Will



 

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Changing a Scottish Will

In drafting your will, it’s important to understand that events will most likely occur in your lifetime which will give rise to a need to change the provisions of your will. These events may come around as a result of changes in the law, your financial circumstances, the value of your assets and even in your preferences in relation to beneficiaries. If your will is not updated to address these changes, they can have significant unintended consequences – particularly in respect of the manner in which your assets are ultimately divided amongst your family and friends.

Some typical changes in circumstances that can cause unintended consequences if not addressed include:

  • birth of new family members;
  • death of intended beneficiaries;
  • significant changes in beneficiaries’ circumstances;
  • changes in your relationships (such as marriage or divorce);
  • acquisition of new assets;
  • substantial appreciation in value of particular existing assets; and
  • disposal or substantial depreciation in value or loss of certain existing assets.

In order to make sure that changes in your circumstances are addressed in your will it is recommended that you review and update your will annually or at the very least, every three years. It’s also recommended that you review your will on the occurrence of any significant change in your personal circumstances such as in the cases of the examples set out above.

 

You are free to change the terms of your will including the beneficiaries named in it whenever you like.  Fortunately, amending your will is relatively straightforward. To amend a will, you can either make a new will in its entirety or you can make a codicil which will amend a specific portion of your existing will.


A codicil is simply a testamentary document that amends rather than replaces an existing will. It requires exactly the same formalities as to execution as does a will. You can use different witnesses, but it’s better (if they can be easily found) to use the same people who witnessed the original will. Once the codicil has been executed, it should be placed with the original will for safe keeping.


Similar to the position with wills, a witness to a codicil should not be a beneficiary under the codicil, as this will preclude them from inheriting under the codicil.

 

 

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