Validity of Wills—Scotland
Produced in partnership with Jacqueline Leslie of Harper Macleod LLP

The following Private Client practice note produced in partnership with Jacqueline Leslie of Harper Macleod LLP provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Validity of Wills—Scotland
  • Wills Act 1963
  • Attested Wills
  • Notarial execution
  • Lack of formality
  • Alternatives to attested Wills
  • Holograph Wills
  • Special destinations
  • Mortis causa donations
  • Revocation of Wills
  • More...

Validity of Wills—Scotland

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19): Some of the formal requirements for a valid Will in Scotland have been relaxed during the coronavirus pandemic. See News Analysis: Signing Wills in Scotland in times of social distancing. The Law Society of Scotland guidance on the witnessing of Wills and notarising documents during the coronavirus pandemic which allow the use of video call in certain circumstances can be found at Law Society of Scotland Coronovirus update—6 August 2020.

This Practice Note covers the requirements under Scots Law for a Will to be formally valid and the requirements which must be met if effect is to be given to a Will. For general information on Wills under Scots law, see Practice Note: Wills in Scotland—overview.

Wills Act 1963

A Will is formally valid if it is properly executed according to the law of the testator's domicile, habitual residence or nationality either at the date of execution of the Will or at the date of death. It will also be formally valid if it conforms to the law of the place of execution. See Practice Note: Validity of Wills—foreign element.

If a Will deals only with immovable property, it is formally valid if it conforms to the lex situs of the property.

The Scottish rules on signing and witnessing a Will can therefore be followed when the Will is executed in Scotland, where the testator

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