Creating a Will is a powerful way to protect your legacy and ensure your loved ones are cared for according to your wishes. Without one you are leaving it to the law to decide how your estate (your money, possessions and property) should be divided, and this may not be in line with your wishes.
For the LGBT+ community, having a Will that explicitly addresses your unique needs and concerns is paramount. Nobody likes to think or talk about death, but in life it is important to plan for the unexpected. There is a myth that unmarried people will inherit exactly the same as those married if they have been living together for a long period of time. But in Scotland there is no such thing as a ‘common-law spouse’. This means even that even if you have been with your Partner for 20 years, if you are unmarried, the law sees you as a stranger to your partner and there is nothing automatic about inheriting.
When a person dies without leaving a valid will, their property (the estate) must be shared out according to certain rules (the rules of intestacy). Only married or civil partners and some other close relatives can inherit under the rules of intestacy. Therefore if you are not married or in a civil partnership, you do not have legal rights or protection when it comes to inheritance and you would have to go to Court to make a claim on a Will which can be a costly and lengthy process at an already distressing time.
It is important for you to make a Will whether or not you consider you have many possessions or much money. Unmarried partners and partners who have not registered a civil partnership cannot inherit from each other unless there is a Will, so the death of one partner may create serious financial problems for the remaining partner. Creating a Will that explicitly names your partner as a beneficiary can provide them with the necessary legal protections.
Life is dynamic, and circumstances change over time. Regularly review and update your Will to reflect any significant life events, such as marriage, divorce, adoption, or the birth of children. It is essential to keep your Will current and ensure it accurately reflects your wishes. If for example you were previously married, and have not updated your Will, it may still be valid and you could find that any inheritance goes to an ex-spouse.
At Ness Gallagher, we are committed to providing a safe and inclusive space for all clients, ensuring their estate planning aligns with their identities and desires. Start the conversation today and safeguard your future and the future of those you cherish.