Why making your Will is an essential step in caring for your loved ones

Making your Will – an essential step in caring for your loved ones

Making your Will - a key step in caring for your loved ones

By David C Murray
Senior Partner at Gebbie & Wilson

In the first of three articles for strathavenechoes, David uses a case study to highlight the benefits – both financial and emotional – of making your Will.

I’ve not done my Tax Return yet. It’s mid January now and I must get it done by the end of this month or HMRC will hit me with fines and penalties. Trouble is there’s always something more urgent (or more interesting – wouldn’t be hard!) to do than filling in a Tax Return.   In that sense, it’s a bit like getting round to making a Will: not the most pressing – or the most fun – thing on most people’s “to do” list. But the difference between your Tax Return and your Will is that at least the Taxman tells you his deadline:  the Grim Reaper invariably does not!   And the Reaper doesn’t publish a tariff of financial penalties for non-Willmakers on any website either.  So maybe it would be useful to consider what these penalties could be.

I always find case studies more interesting than a list of facts and figures – so here’s one:-


Craig and Donna

  • Craig, 33, a GP and his wife Donna, 30, a teacher, as yet have no children.
  • Their home was purchased by Craig from an inheritance from his parents. It’s now worth £200,000.
  • With no mortgage, Craig has been able to save into ISAs, worth £209,000 at the last count.

Tragically, a week before his 34th birthday, out of nowhere Craig suffers a massive stroke and dies instantly.

I am now faced with a grieving Donna seeking my help in winding up Craig’s estate. He has no other family apart from his much older sister, Janice, who emigrated to Canada when Craig was in his early teens. Janice came over for their wedding five years ago but that is the first and only time Donna has met her.

I have to explain to Donna that, since Craig died intestate (i.e. he did not leave a Will) we need to get Donna appointed as Craig’s Executor. That is not a particularly costly or time consuming process:  it costs a few hundred pounds and takes about 3 weeks; but it is money and time which could have been saved if Craig had made a Will naming an Executor.

We also need to obtain a Bond of Caution. Pronounced “Cay-shun”, this this is a Court requirement, in intestate estates, to provide insurance cover against the possibility of a Will turning up after the estate has been distributed. Quaintly named but a downright waste of money, the premium for this, based on the value of Craig’s estate, is £1,020.   This has to be paid even though Donna is certain there is no Will.   If only Craig had made a Will in the first place … Bond of Caution … £1,020 … downright waste of money!

So, OK, hindsight is a wonderful thing – too bad Craig didn’t make a Will – it’s cost £1,500 or so but Craig’s estate can then be wound up and everything passed over to Donna right? Well, no that’s not right. Unfortunately there is worse  to come for poor Donna!

In the next Edition of strathavenechoes (which is out on 3rd February) I’ll break the bad news to Donna.

For advice or more information on this topic – or to make that Will writing appointment – you can call me on:

01357 520082

 Email me at:


 Or simply come in to Gebbie & Wilson in the Common Green.