No one likes to contemplate their own death or the death of a loved one. The importance of preparing a will is often overlooked or postponed or those who do have wills overlook the importance of reviewing their wills.
In preparing a will you provide written instructions on how your estate should be distributed on death and who should do so. Often the Executor will be the person who will make funeral arrangements. This need not be the case. Should you wish, you can make an “arrangements on death declaration” which would determine who is responsible for making your funeral arrangements. This could be incorporated within your will or form a separate document to be held alongside your will. Where your will is silent on this matter or you have not made an arrangement on death declaration, legislation (The Burial and Cremation (Scotland) Act 2016) determines that the “nearest relative” of the deceased is responsible for making the funeral arrangements. The nearest relative of the deceased is the person who immediately after death is:
- spouse or civil partner;
- child (including step-children);
- uncle or aunt;
- niece or nephew; or
- longstanding friend.
Where there is more than one person in a “class” of persons above i.e. children, then each of them rank equally. It is therefore important in cases of family disunity to prepare such a statement to avoid any disagreement.
Should you require advice on the above or wish to update your will please contact a member of our Wills and Executries Team who will be happy to help.