Wills in Scotland—overview
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:

  • Wills in Scotland—overview
  • Making a Will
  • Who can make a Will?
  • Mental capacity
  • Executors and trustees
  • Legacies
  • Specific legacies
  • General legacies
  • Residuary legacies
  • Interest on legacies
  • More...

Wills in Scotland—overview

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.

Making a Will

When a person dies, it must be established whether they made a valid Will. If not, the deceased's estate will be administered in accordance with the law of intestacy in Scotland set out in sections 2, 8 and 9 of the Succession (Scotland) Act 1964.

Who can make a Will?

In Scotland, anyone aged 12 or over can make a Will.

Prior to 25 September 1991, a girl aged 12 or over and a boy aged 14 or over had testamentary capacity (Stevenson v Allans (1680) Mor 8949; Erskine Institute vii 33 (not reported by LexisNexis®)).

Mental capacity

The testator must be of sound mind and capable of understanding the nature and effect of making a Will. A Will will not be valid if the testator was not capable of understanding what the consequences of making one would be. See: Graeme v Graeme's Trustees (1869) 7M 1062 (not reported by LexisNexis®).

It is for the solicitor instructed in relation to a Will to reach a view on the testator's capacity but the prudent practitioner would always seek a medical opinion where there is any doubt.

Executors and trustees

An executor is responsible for giving effect to the terms of the Will

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