Scotland Independence Referendum Impact on Estate Planning
On Thursday 18th of September, 2014 Scottish voters will go to the polls to cast their YES or NO vote on whether Scotland should sever its ties with the UK and become an independent country.
The result is expected to be announced sometime early on the following morning on Friday 19th September 2014.
Below are some frequently asked questions about the potential impacts a YES vote may have on the legal system in relation to Estate planning for assets held in England or Scotland.
Will a YES vote have an Impact on the Legal System
Both Scotland and England already have their own separate legal systems so it is unlikely that a YES vote would change any legislation that is already in force.
Will a YES vote have an Impact on my Estate Planning
Scottish Law applies to the estates of people who die and are domiciled in Scotland.
You are considered to be domiciled in Scotland if you have your main residence in Scotland.
If you are domiciled in Scotland it’s a good idea to have Scottish Solicitors draft your Will, this is because they will be able to take account of the Scottish forced heirship laws.
If you are however domiciled in England but have property and assets in Scotland, making a Will made under the law of England and Wales should be sufficient to pass your entire estate, including your property in both England and Scotland.
Do I need to make two Wills
Providing you have clearly set out where you are officially domiciled It should not be necessary to make both English and Scottish Wills.
Do I need to change my existing Will
The outcome of the independence vote on Friday should not have any effect on the Laws that govern your Will.
There should be no need for you to change your Will.
You should however regularly review your existing Will, ideally at least every five years or sooner if there has been any major change in your life since you had it drafted.
For example, getting separated, married, divorced, having a child, moving house or if the executor or guardian named in your Will dies.
We highly recommend that when considering whether to make a Will under the law of Scotland or England & Wales, if you are in any doubt about the best way to proceed.
You should seek the advice of a professional Estate Planning Consultant or a Solicitor.