Wills/Estate Planning

Whether you have significant assets or “just a bank account”, a clear and well written Will can make your estate much easier to wind up and manage when you’re gone. When you die without a Will, your assets may be distributed in a way in which you would never have wanted or envisioned.  We can also assist in estate planning to structure your assets in such a way as to mitigate potential care costs or inheritance tax burdens. 

Many of us are unaware of the importance of making a Will and we would recommend to all our clients that they at least consider making a Will.

A Will is a legal document where you can formally express what happens to your property, money and personal possessions when you are deceased. You can decide who your executors and beneficiaries will be. You can choose to leave Specific gifts of items or money to beneficiaries. You can decide who should receive the Residue of your estate (everything you own after payment of all debts, expenses and specific gifts). You can also state your funeral wishes or choose guardians for young children that will need to be cared for if you are deceased. It is usually a straightforward and inexpensive process but one which will make things easier for your family and loved ones when you die.

The work we do will include framing and extending the Will, having it executed, completing it, making one copy thereof for your reference and storing the principal in our Will safe until such time as it is required/replaced. If you would like to discuss making a Will, please contact our office and make an appointment to speak to one of our friendly Solicitors. 

If you die without  leaving  a Will (Intestate Succession), your relatives would need to apply to the court to have an executor appointed and your estate may not be divided up as you would have wished it to be. This process would take much longer for your estate to be tied up and cause additional expense due to the requirement for a Bond of Caution.

Intestate Succession

If you die without a Will your estate would be distributed in terms of the Succession (Scotland) Act 1964.

Spouse/Civil Partner (Prior Rights)

If you are married or in a civil partnership at the date of death, your spouse or civil partner would be entitled to the main family home (up to the value of £473,000) plus the furnishings and plenishings of the family home (up to the value of £29,000) provided that the surviving spouse has been resident at that property for a minimum of 6 months.

Your spouse or civil partner would also be entitled to the first £50,000 of your moveable estate (e.g. money, shares, bonds, etc) if you die leaving a child or children (including adopted children), or £89,000 if you die without leaving a child or children.


If you are not married or in a civil partnership and live with a cohabitant who you think should be entitled to your estate, then making a Will is one of the easiest ways to plan for the future. If you die without a Will, your cohabitant is the least protected member of the family, especially if you have children or an estranged spouse (not yet divorced). A cohabitant does have rights in law, but these requires an application to the Court and the Court has the power to make a discretionary award to your cohabitant taking into account the whole situation. The Court will also require to take into account any claims by an estranged spouse/civil partner and any children. This could mean that your cohabitant receives substantially less than you would have wanted them to have.

Children (Legal Rights)

If you have children, they are entitled to their Legal Rights, which amounts to one third of the remaining moveable estate (after the deduction of Prior Rights) if your die leaving a surviving spouse/civil partner or half of your moveable estate if your spouse/civil partner predeceased you. The remaining residue of your intestate estate will be determined by Section (2) of the Succession (Scotland) Act 1964

Children (Legitim)

If you have a child or children, they are entitled a portion of your moveable estate (anything which is not a property or land), whether or not you have a Will. If you are married or in a civil partnership at the date of your death, the legitim fund will be one-third of your nett moveable estate. If you are not married or your spouse/civil partner has predeceased you, the legitim fund will be one-half of your nett moveable estate.

James Thomson & Son always offers a personal approach and once you instruct us to deal with your matter, you will be assigned a specific named person who will deal with your transaction and with you as the matter progresses. You can be confident that if you instruct James Thomson & Son and your solicitor is unavailable for any reason, that there will be always be another team member who can help you deal with your matter as soon as possible.

Back to Legal Services

James Thomson & Son were meticulous and supportive when we sold our home. It was the first time selling for us and they made us feel really comfortable with the process.

Mr McDonagh

Get In Touch

We love to listen, so please get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.


01592 268 575


01592 642082



51A High St, Kirkcaldy KY1 1LJ

Find Our Office

51A High Street, Kirkcaldy, Fife KY1 1LJ
Privacy Settings
We use cookies to enhance your experience while using our website. If you are using our Services via a browser you can restrict, block or remove cookies through your web browser settings. We also use content and scripts from third parties that may use tracking technologies. You can selectively provide your consent below to allow such third party embeds. For complete information about the cookies we use, data we collect and how we process them, please check our Privacy Policy
Consent to display content from - Youtube
Consent to display content from - Vimeo
Google Maps
Consent to display content from - Google