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Fergusson Law shares their latest news, the latest legal news and provides some legal advice on this blog.

Principal of Fergusson Law in Edinburgh.

The Importance of a Power of Attorney

Making decisions for ourselves is something we all take for granted, but what happens if you lose capacity to look after your finances or welfare? This could happen to any of us suddenly and unexpectedly a result of an accident or of ill-health.

It is also a sad fact that 1 in 3 of us will suffer from dementia.

Whatever your age it is important to take time now to grant Power of Attorney in favour of someone you trust. Being prepared will give you and your family peace of mind.

Many people think that a family member, being a spouse, civil partner or child, will automatically be able to make decisions for them but that is not the case.

Unless you have a Power of Attorney your family does not have the right to make decisions on your behalf.

If you are unfortunate enough to be one of the 1 in 3 who develops dementia and you do not have a Power of Attorney, your family members may have to go to Court to obtain the legal authority to act on your behalf.

Power of Attorney makes sense. By getting a Power of Attorney, you have the right to choose someone who you trust to make specific decisions on your behalf if you need help or if you lose the ability to make decisions yourself.

This is also a topic which has been discussed recently in the media.

Phone us on 0131 556 4044 (any extension), email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or check out our website www.fergussonlaw.com for more information on how we can help you.

Intestacy and Property Investors

Are you a Buy-to-Let Investor?  Do you have a Will?  If you die without one, your property may not be distributed in the way you would have wanted , and it might cause real problems for your family. 

If you do not have a Will in Scotland, your estate is divided according to the rules of intestacy.

Firstly, if there is a surviving spouse they get two items

  • The family home up to a value of £473,000 and contents up to £29,000
  • Cash - £50,000 if there are surviving children, £89,000 if there are none

If the house is worth more, your widow or widower would have to buy the balance from the estate.

If there are moveable assets ( that is everything except houses, flats and land) left after the first two items then further  Rules  apply

These rules below only apply to moveable assets – cash, investments, cars, belongings etc. 

  • Surviving spouse and children – spouse gets 1/3rd, children share 1/3rd net moveable assets
  • Surviving spouse only – spouse gets one half net moveable assets
  • Surviving children only – children share half net moveable assets

Everything left over falls into what is called FREE ESTATE

So any other property you own (including your buy-to-lets), remaining cash, investments etc. are distributed under the following strict order of succession.  Only if there is nobody in the higher category can the next down category inherit:-

  • Children take everything, if you have any
  • Your parents share one half and siblings the other half, if you have both
  • Your parents take everything if you have no siblings
  • Your siblings take everything, if you have no parents
  • If a sibling has died leaving children, those children (i.e. your nieces and nephews) are entitled to their share
  • Your spouse – but only if none of the above survive you.

The important point is that your surviving spouse is well down the list.

If you are a buy-to-let investor with no Will your properties are likely to end up in your free estate.  If you have children, they will inherit them in preference to your surviving spouse, even if they are very young at the time. If you have no children, your nieces and nephews may turn out to have a bigger inheritance  from you than your surviving spouse.

This distribution can have a number of unwanted consequences including an unnecessary inheritance tax bill, family upset,  and difficulties managing the properties if there are children under 16. 

The  practical solution is to draw up a Will.

For advice and a quote contact us at Fergusson Law on 0131 556 4044 (any extension)

or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Consequences of Ineffective Wills

A survey by the Solicitors Regulation Authority found that 1 in 4 Wills were defective or of poor quality.

Whilst we appreciate it may be cheaper to avoid using a professional, a simple mistake can mean paying much more.

Figures from the Co-operative Legal Services suggest poorly drafted or ineffective DIY Wills are to blame for pro-longing the time taken to tie-up a loved one’s estate for 38,000 families a year.

Up to 10% of the value of an individual’s estate could be absorbed in legal fees as a result of an ineffective Will. With the average estate value in the UK standing at £160,000, this could mean as much as £16,000 of your savings being lost in paying avoidable legal fees.

Prevent leaving your family with a financial and emotional mess by using specialist Solicitors at Fergusson Law to assist you in completing your Will, ensuring your savings and assets are distributed according to your final wishes.

Phone us on 0131 556 4044 (any extension), e-mail us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or check out our website www.fergussonlaw.com for more information on how we can help you.