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Writing a Will in Scotland

We offer an easy, legal and affordable online Will writing service for people living in Scotland.

For a long time Scots have been unable to make simple Wills online, as most reputable services are only available to residents of England and Wales. We created WeWill to change that. Whether you are looking to update an old Will or you want to easily write a new Will at an affordable price, we're here to help.

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This guide explains why you need a valid Will in Scotland and if you die without writing a Will, your estate will be distributed according to the law of intestacy. Learn about the default rules of intestacy, the legal differences between Scotland and England & Wales, and how WeWill can help your write your Will without being a legal expert.

Scottish Rules of Intestacy

Writing a Will in Scotland is intended to provide a practical answer, with some certainty, as to the disposal of your estate on death. You can do this by having a legal document which provides all relevant parties with awareness of who will inherit property, assets and effects and in what proportion.

Unfortunately, writing a Will is something most people put off until it is too late. However, it is essential to remember that if you die without leaving a Will and there are assets to distribute, law by way of intestacy decides how your estate will be processed. The rules of intestacy will determine who inherits your estate and how it is divided up. If a person dies intestate, it means that they died without writing a Will.

The law in Scotland is different to that in England & Wales. Let's explain what happens to your estate if you die without a valid Will in Scotland.

What happens if you do not have a Will?

The default rules of intestacy are set out in the Succession (Scotland) Act 1964 (the 1964 Act) . These rules apply when someone dies without leaving a valid Will or leaving a Will, but it is invalid and cannot be enforced.

The 1964 Act explains who benefits from the estate and how it should be divided between them when there is no Will. If a person does not have a Will, any person with a claim under the intestacy rules is potentially entitled to the whole or part of the estate. The primary purpose of applying the rules of intestacy is to identify the deceased's closest relatives.

How your estate is distributed

Distributing the estate of a person who has passed away without leaving a Will involves several steps that the executor must follow. They must be completed in the correct order. The first step is to pay off any debts that the deceased owes. This step is the executor's responsibility, and this must be done before anything else. The intestate person's estate is then subject to particular beneficiaries' claims in the following order:

Prior rights

Prior rights are the estate's initial claim. They serve to protect the surviving spouse or civil partner of the deceased. Your spouse or civil partner will receive your share of the home, up to £473,000, but only if they regularly reside there. They will also receive furniture worth up to £29,000, entitled to £50,000 in cash (if you have children), or £89,000 if you pass away without children.

Only moveable property is covered by legal rights, meaning all assets, excluding buildings and land. The spouse or civil partner is entitled to half of the remaining moveable estate if the deceased did not have children. The surviving spouse or civil partner would receive one-third of the remaining moveable estate if the deceased had children.

The children are entitled to one-third of the remaining moveable estate if the deceased left behind a civil partner or spouse. The one-third share is divided equally among the children. The children are entitled to half of the remaining moveable estate if the deceased did not leave behind a civil partner or spouse. The half-share is also divided equally among the children.

The free estate

The free estate is the estate that is left over after all prior rights, and legal rights have been met under the 1964 Act. The children (adopted children included) will each receive an equal share of the free estate. Should a deceased person's child pass away before them and leaves behind their children (i.e., the deceased person's grandchildren), the grandchildren will receive the portion of the estate to which their parent would have been allocated. The grandchildren will inherit the free estate in cases where all of the deceased's kids passed away before the deceased.

Where there are no children, the following family members can make claims from the free estate in this particular order:

  • Parents and siblings of the deceased (if there are survivors from both the parents and the siblings, each class will receive half of the free estate)
  • Siblings, if parents are both deceased
  • Parents, if there are no living siblings
  • Spouse or civil partner
  • Aunts and uncles
  • Grandparents
  • Siblings of the grandparents
  • The deceased ancestors, more distant than the grandparents
  • Finally, the Crown will take the entire estate if there are no living relatives

The rules of intestacy in Scotland are different from those in England & Wales

Although you will find several similarities, England & Wales and Scotland also have different intestacy rules. For example:

Entitlement of the Spouse

In England & Wales, the surviving spouse is entitled to the whole residual inheritance/estate if there are no children. In Scotland, where there are no children, the spouse or civil partner is entitled first to half of the deceased's estate before the estate is distributed further.

Probate vs. confirmation

In Scotland, the executors apply to the Sheriff Court for confirmation after obtaining the specifics of the estate. On the other hand, Executors in England & Wales make an application for a Grant of Probate from the English courts.


An executor must be at least 16 years old in Scotland and 18 years old in England & Wales.

You can write a Will yourself

The law does not require that you use a solicitor or a lawyer when writing a Will in Scotland. You can do it yourself and follow the rules set out in the 1964 Act. The only important thing is that you must formally witness your signature by another person and make sure they are aware of what they are witnessing.

Using our online Will writing service, you can sign up for free and start writing your Will instantly. Once you have entered all the necessary information, you can purchase your document for only £90, and download you Will immediately.

You can use an online Will writing service for simple Wills

You will benefit from using our platform if you have straightforward wishes for your Will. Our online writing services will help you write your Will, and when it has been signed and witnessed, we give you instructions on where to store your document securely.

WeWill is a quick and easy way to create a valid Will. You don't have to worry about finding the correct legal terms or knowing how much your estate is worth.

You enter the information, and we will create the Will for you.

How much will it cost?

If you think making a Will will break the bank, think again. For a small fixed fee of just £90, we can help you get your Will. That includes one year of free changes. We also save you the hassle of storing your documents in your attic or paying for home storage units because we give you instructions on where to store your document securely.

What to include in your Will

Our online service captures the following content:


The person who makes a Will is known as the testator and must be of sound mind. You simply need to provide your full name, date of birth and home address.


The executor is responsible for carrying out the terms of a Will, including distributing property to beneficiaries. If a person dies without having made a Will, then the court may appoint an administrator or executor.


A beneficiary is someone who receives something from the deceased person's estate on their death. For example, if you leave money in your Will to your children, those children are your beneficiaries.

Trust for Beneficiaries

A trust for beneficiaries is when someone creates a Trust for another person's benefit, usually their children or grandchildren. A trustee manages this trust for the benefit of those receiving its benefits from it, also known as beneficiaries.

In Scotland, inheritance can be held in trust for Beneficiaries aged under 18 or 21 or 25 years old. When writing your Will, you simply choose whether you wish to apply this to your Beneficiaries.


A legacy is a gift of money, land or possessions left to a person (the legatee) in your Will. Legacies may be left to:

  • The legatee as an individual
  • The legatee's spouse, civil partner, cohabiting partner, children or parents
  • The legatee as part of a group or organization
  • The legatee as a charity


Guardians are appointed to look after minors' interests or those who cannot manage their affairs. In some cases, this includes people who have been declared incompetent by court order but whose mental condition has improved since then.

It is easy to add one or more Guardians using our platform, either as individuals or as a couple. Each person and couple can also have a substitute.


There are two situations where you may want to make a substitute. The first is for an executor. If your spouse has been appointed but has died, or if you have appointed someone to act as an executor who dies before their duties are discharged, you may wish to appoint another person to act until the original appointee has completed their role.

The second situation is where several people are set out as executors in your Will, and one does not take up their duties as required. In this situation, you should appoint a replacement before they have completed their term of office.

Our platform allows you to add and remove a substitute for any Executor, Beneficiary or Legatee.

Arrangements for your funeral

You can also specify funeral wishes, how you want to be remembered, and other personal preferences.

Donations to charities

All donations made to charities in a Will are exempt from inheritance tax, allowing the charities to get the entire amount. It is easy to add a gift or a share of your estate to charity by simply adding the charity name and registered charity number.

Changing/updating your Will

During the first year, you can make any changes to your Will. After that, access to your Will costs £10 each year, and you can continue to make changes when your circumstance changes.

What makes a valid Will in Scotland?

Here are some of the differences between Scottish Will requirements and the Will requirements in England & Wales:

  • The testator can be any person over 12 years of age in Scotland, while in England and Wales, you must be 18 years or older.
  • Only one witness is required in Scotland as defined in the Requirements of Writing (Scotland) Act 1995 . In England & Wales, you must have two witnesses.
  • In England & Wales, the testator's signature can be subscribed anywhere, but in Scotland, it has to be on the last page of the Will.

Get in touch

Contact us if you have any questions, need help or chat with the team.