Importance of Writing a Will if you own Multiple Properties

Do you have a Will? You are never too young to write a Will. In Scots Law, everyone over the age of 12 can make a Will.

If you die without one, your estate may not be distributed in the way you would have intended, and it might cause real problems for your family. Your estate consists of all your assets. Don’t for a minute think it is just for people who have large houses and country estates. Even if all you have is £5000 savings, who do you want to benefit from it if you die? If you wish it to be your best friend rather than a family member then you must write a Will.

The issue of having no Will is of particular concern to buy-to-let investors, who own flats and houses in addition to their family home.

If you do not have a Will in Scotland, your estate is divided according to the rules of intestacy.

1. A surviving spouse gets PRIOR RIGHTS
– The family home (if they live there) up to a value of £473,000.
– Contents (if they live there) up to a value of £29,000.
– Cash – £50,000 if there are children, £89,000 if there are none.

2. If there are moveable assets left after prior rights, LEGAL RIGHTS apply ie everything except houses, flats and land.

Surviving Spouse & Children
The spouse gets a third of moveable assets.
Children between them share a third of moveable assets.
The final third of moveable assets goes into FREE ESTATE.

Surviving Spouse Only
The spouse receives half of net moveable assets.
The other half goes to FREE ESTATE.

Surviving Children Only
They share half of net moveable assets.
The other half goes to FREE ESTATE.

3. Everything left over after prior and legal rights becomes FREE ESTATE.
Therefore any other houses and land you own (including your buy-to-let properties), and all the cash etc. left from Rights will be distributed in the following strict order of succession:

Buy-To-Let Properties
1. Your children.
2. If you have parents and siblings they share your free estate.
3. If you only have parents, they take your free estate.
4. If you have siblings, but no parents, they inherit (or their children if they have predeceased).
5. If you have no children, parents or siblings your surviving spouse inherits.
6. If there are no close relatives, it goes on to uncles/aunts and other more distant relatives.
7. If no-one can be found then the Government gets it.

Therefore, if you haven’t taken the time to write a Will, then this is what is likely to happen. Your properties will end up in free estate.

If you have children, they will inherit these properties in preference to your surviving spouse, even if they are very young at the time. This could result in an unnecessary inheritance tax bill and make the properties difficult to manage as young children do not have legal capacity.

If you are married with no children, your parents, brothers and sisters, (or their children if they have died before you) will inherit your buy to let properties in preference to your husband or wife.

If you have an unmarried partner, they have limited rights, which do not include the buy-to-let properties.

At Fergusson Law in Edinburgh, we would highly recommend that you write a Will that states exactly what you wish in the event of your death.

Fergusson Law

35 Northumberland Street



Tel: 0131 556 4044


Our solicitors can provide you with expert help and advice with making a will. Having a Will written and checked by a Solicitor makes it less likely that it can be contested by another member of your family. 

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