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Planning for your future is vital. However, with that, inevitably comes a myriad of questions. What is a Will? Do I need one? What is a Living Will? Is that the same as a Will?

What is a Living Will?

A Living Will (also known as an Advance Directive) is a formal document which sets out your wishes regarding medical treatment and matters such as end of life care. It allows you to express your wishes about the type of end-of-life treatment and care plans you do or do not want.

A crucial point to note, however, is that a Living Will is not legally binding in Scotland. It is essentially evidence of your wishes. If you become too unwell to give or refuse consent and do not have a Living Will in place, then it may be medical staff who make the decision when deciding what life-sustaining treatment you do or do not receive.

The main purpose of a Living Will is to ensure your voice is heard when it comes to medical intervention and care, even if you’re in a position where you can’t speak for yourself. If you decide to put a Living Will in place it is also best to inform your family, your GP etc in order that they are aware of your wishes.

What is a Will?

A Living Will deals with decisions to be made in your lifetime such as decisions about life support and end of life care. A Will on the other hand allows you to narrate how your assets should be dealt with upon your death.

Having a Will in place is important in order to ensure that your wishes are met once you pass away.

If you pass away without a Will in place, this is known as dying intestate and your estate will be administered according to the Scottish laws of intestacy. This may mean that your property, money and possessions are not distributed in the way you would wish them to be. Having a Will in place not only details how your estate should be administered but can legally protect your spouse, children and assets.

A Will is particularly important if you have children, own property, have savings and investments or own a business. Everyone should have a Will in place regardless of their age or financial circumstances. A Will provides peace of mind, leaving you safe in the knowledge that your wishes have been set out clearly and thereby making the process of winding up your estate as easy as possible for your loved ones when the time comes.

Should you wish to discuss putting in place a Will or Living Will, please do not hesitate to contact our Private Client team who will be happy to assist you.

Blog by Ailidh Ballantyne, Private Client Solicitor

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