CONFIRMATION / PROBATE IN SCOTLAND
CONFIRMATION / PROBATE IN SCOTLAND
Tim Weir has provided a first class service to our family from start to finish, helping us sort out an estate, wills, power of attorney and more. Always available on the end of emails, phone and in person to assist, advise and explain different aspects of the legal process. In addition, his fees are very competitive and transparent. Would happily recommend Weir Law to others.
Highly recommend. They were efficient, helpful and answered all my questions. The process of setting up my Will was quick and seamless and I will definitely use again.
Tim Weir was absolutely brilliant in helping me sorting out a trust account. Always there at the end of the phone to help where ever possible. Very professional and polite at all times.
Tim Weir provided an extremely supportive and professional service. I thoroughly recommend his approach to business.
Tim was prompt, diligent and patient and had an excellent manner in dealing with my father. I was extremely pleased with his fee, this easily beats his competitors for the same service.
The service provided by Weir Law was second to none. They were excellent from start to finish. Always contactable and very fast to reply, takes the time to explain things and answer all questions. I will be using them for all future needs and referring my friends to them.
We work with Weir Law safe in the knowledge that the needs of our families are met on time, every time.
I recently made a will and cannot believe how easy this was, with great help from Tim. I would highly recommend. Thanks for your great work Tim.
For expert legal advice to:
Deal with the paperwork required by banks, pension companies and creditors.
Complete all court papers and estate tax returns.
Transfer or sell the deceased’s property and/or shares.
Obtain peace of mind that everything has been done legally and transparently.
What is Confirmation in Scotland?
Confirmation is a legal document from a Sheriff Court that gives the person dealing with the deceased’s affairs authority to receive the money and property belonging to the deceased person.
Is Confirmation the same as Probate?
The terms are broadly similar, but it is important to note that “Confirmation” is the procedure followed in Scotland only. Generally, “Probate” and “letters of administration” are terms used to describe the legal process involved in the estates of people who lived in England and Wales at the time of their death.
Do you need a Will to get Confirmation in Scotland?
No. Confirmation may be required for people who have died with or without a Will. If the deceased person made a Will during their lifetime, this will make the process of obtaining Confirmations slightly less expensive and time-consuming.
How long does Confirmation take in Scotland?
Guidance issued to all Scottish solicitors states that the person dealing with the estate (that is, the “executor”) should not finalise and distribute the estate within six months of the date of death. This time period allows creditors and other parties owed money from the estate time to make their claim on the deceased person’s estate.
If the executor wishes to conclude the estate administration within six months from the date of death, we may request that instruction in writing. In such circumstances, the executor will be advised of the risks associated with the early winding-up of an estate in Scotland.
Is Confirmation/Probate required in Scotland?
This depends on the type and value of assets owned by the deceased person at the time of their death. In Scotland, Confirmation will be required if the deceased owned a property in their own name (and in some cases, where they owned a property jointly with someone else).
Confirmation will also be required if the deceased person had money over a certain amount in their bank account(s) on death. Each bank or building society has its own threshold – over which they will insist on the executor obtaining Confirmation through the Sheriff Court.
Other assets may require Confirmation to be obtained before they can be released – like shareholdings, Premium Bonds, death in service sums not written into trust, etc.
Do I need to apply for Confirmation Scotland?
If you have been asked by a bank or other organisation to provide Confirmation (also known as probate or letters of administration in England and Wales), this means that you will need to complete and submit a set of official forms that detail the deceased’s assets, personal circumstances and those of the executor(s).
The Confirmation document contains an inventory, which must be populated to include all assets forming part of the deceased’s estate. In some cases, assets such as insurance policies written into trust or an employer’s death in service benefits may not form part of the estate, so it is important that you are able to distinguish estate from non-estate assets.
How much does Confirmation cost in Scotland?
Firstly, it is worth noting that legal fees are typically settled from the estate funds at the end of the estate administration period. The only payments sought up-front would be outlays such as Court costs and expenses to obtain copy title deeds, etc.
For smaller estates, the Sheriff Clerk can assist you with obtaining Confirmation if the total value of the deceased’s estate is less than £36,000. However, if the gross value of the estate is more than £36,000 it is recommended that you instruct a solicitor to complete and submit the Confirmation paperwork on your behalf.
There is no standard fee charged by solicitors. The professional fee will depend on the complexity and value of assets, as well as the amount of time it will take to complete the estate administration and settle all claims and liabilities.
We work to a fixed-fee rather than an hourly rate, as this gives the executor certainty regarding the costs at the very beginning of the matter. If you have an idea of the deceased person’s assets and their approximate values at this time, contact us for a fee quote and a no-obligation conversation.
GUIDANCE FOR EXECUTORS
When a friend, colleague or family member dies, it can be both daunting and overwhelming for the next-of-kin to deal with the daily tasks of administering the estate in accordance with the laws of Scotland. This can be an even more exhausting and time-consuming task if the person who has died did not make a will during their lifetime.
If you find yourself in the situation where you are dealing with a deceased’s estate, it is essential that you are made aware of your rights and responsibilities as executor of the estate. Without legal guidance, you run the risk of a claim against you – by a disappointed beneficiary or even HM Revenue & Customs.
By instructing a solicitor, not only will you have the comfort of knowing what is expected of you as executor, you can share the burden (or off-load this entirely) with the solicitor – who will deal with all the paperwork and court procedures on your behalf.
Guidance for Executors:
If you decide to administer the estate yourself, it is worth bearing in mind the following:
If there is no will, you must apply to the court to be executor
Unless you are named in the deceased’s will, you do not have the automatic right to act as executor of the estate unless you have petitioned the sheriff court nearest to the deceased’s home address. There are strict rules for such a petition, and in many cases you will be expected to obtain an insurance policy (known as a bond of caution) before the sheriff court will entertain your application.
Where the deceased owned a property, you will need to see the title deeds
This is critically important, since it is often the case that the deceased’s house is the most valuable asset in their estate. The title deeds may be held by a solicitor or the mortgage company. If you are having difficulty tracing the whereabouts of the title deeds, you can obtain electronic copies within a few days via the Registers of Scotland website. A thorough examination of the title deeds and the nature of the deceased’s ownership of the property is essential.
Obtaining confirmation requires attention to detail
If you have been asked by a bank or third party to provide confirmation (also known as probate or letters of administration in England and Wales), this means that you will need to complete and submit a set of official forms that detail the deceased’s assets, personal circumstances and those of the executor(s). The confirmation document contains an inventory, which must be populated to include all assets forming part of the deceased’s estate. In some cases, assets such as insurance policies written into trust or an employer’s death in service benefits may not form part of the estate, so it is important that you are able to distinguish estate from non-estate assets.
You will need to contact all potential beneficiaries
As executor, you have a responsibility to account to all potential beneficiaries of the estate. This means that all children (including formally-adopted children but excluding stepchildren) must be contacted following the death to inform them of their right to make a claim on the estate – even where the deceased’s will states otherwise. The law of Scotland allows all children of a deceased parent the right to claim on the estate, and this right does not extinguish until 20 years following the death. If, during that time, the executor has not provided the potential claimant with their entitlement, the executor may be personally sued by the claimant for the amount they were due from the estate.
You must keep accurate and transparent financial accounts
For the sheriff court and HM Revenue & Customs’ purposes, you will need to obtain the date of death valuations of the deceased’s assets. For complete accounting, you must also ingather the final values of these estate items, together with all interest that may have accrued. Once the legal protocols have been followed to conclusion, the executor must produce a final estate account – showing the amounts received, tax due, professional fees paid, liabilities deducted and amounts to be distributed. This account can be requested by third parties so you are advised to ensure full and diligent accounting.advised to ensure full and diligent accounting.
WEIR LAW ESTATE ADMINISTRATION SERVICE
We will guide you through the entire estate administration process and provide you with a fixed-fee quote for any legal work that may be needed.
There is no cost for general advice over the telephone or via email. No matter where you are in Scotland, we will provide you with immediate practical help with the next steps after a death.