If you own property in Scotland as an individual then you should consider putting in place a Scottish Will. Such a document would ensure that your Scottish assets are distributed among the beneficiaries you choose, and according to your wishes after your death.
If you die without a Will and you own property in Scotland, how your estate is distributed is governed by a mixture of Scots Common Law and legislation and will not necessarily pass to those people you would choose yourself. Wills can protect your spouse, your partner and your children. You choose the Executors you wish to handle your estate. Wills can be used as part of a tax planning strategy. Wills should not be considered in isolation, but with reference to both your financial and family circumstances. This might be the first time you think about your Will but you should keep it under review as your circumstances change. You should think about updating your Will if you get married, when you have children or if your assets grow or change.
Please click here to find our factsheet on Making a Will.
If you hold shares in a company which owns property in Scotland then, in the event of your death, your shares would pass in accordance with the company’s Articles of Association or Constitution or any provisions made by you in a Will. You may not require a Scottish Will as your foreign Will would cover the foreign shares which you hold. Consideration should be given to any other assets held in the UK.
Powers of Attorney
If you own property in Scotland, you should also consider putting a Power of Attorney in place. A Power of Attorney is a written document where you as the granter would appoint one or more trusted persons to manage financial and matters on your behalf should you be unable to deal with them yourself for any reason. It has been likened on occasion to an insurance policy – hopefully never needed, but there just in case it is. Without a Power of Attorney, it can be a lengthy and expensive Court process to have a guardian appointed. You can also appoint someone to manage your welfare matters but this would probably not be required if you do not live within the UK.
Granting financial powers would provide the Attorney with the right to operate any bank accounts, sign tax returns and to act on your behalf in relation to any business you are an owner or director of. An Attorney given financial powers can be authorised to act before or after capacity is lost.
Furthermore, you may wish to grant financial powers to an Attorney for example, if you are going to be out of the country for a significant period of time you may consider putting a Power of Attorney in place so that someone can act on your behalf to assist with running the property and any other UK affairs. We would be happy to assist with putting this in place.
Please click here for more information on Granting a Power of Attorney