The importance of a Will to avoid the possibility of an unclaimed estate

Watermans Legal is highlighting the importance of having a Will prepared after it was revealed there are almost 250 unclaimed estates in Glasgow.

Sarah Hay, from our firm in Edinburgh, said people could be at risk of their estates going unclaimed when they pass away if they do not have a Will in place.

According to a specialist website Unclaimed Estates, there are currently 247 estates without owners in Glasgow city.

Speaking after the statistics were revealed, our solicitor Sarah said: “This highlights the importance of ensuring that you write a Will, setting out clear instructions to ensure that your estate is left to your family, or persons of your choosing.

“Once you have a Will in place, it is advisable to review your Will every few years, or when your circumstances change, to ensure that it remains up to date.

“If you move house, it does not necessarily mean that you need to update your Will, however it is a good idea to let the solicitor who perhaps holds your Will know, so that they can update their records.

Normally, when a person dies their assets revert to a named person but sometimes relatives cannot be traced.

“There are specialist firms who can be used in order to trace beneficiaries, if it is proving difficult to contact a particular beneficiary listed in a Will, who may be a distant relative or friend of the person who has died.”

Sarah pointed out that even in cases where a person has left a Will, it can often take several years to ingather all of the financial information and finalise winding up a person’s estate.

It can also take years to resolve matters, due to family circumstances and family relations.

She continued: “Often there may be a property within a person’s estate.  It should be fairly straightforward and involve selling the property and dividing the estate between the beneficiaries.

“Sometimes the family might not agree and the property lies empty for a period of time.  As a result this can incur additional costs, as the local council have the discretion to increase the council tax charge by 100% for certain properties which have been empty for a year or more.”

Watermans Legal can assist with advice on having a Will prepared.