Confirmation / Probate in Scotland

If you're looking after the estate of a deceased friend or relative, you may be worried about what to do first, the timescales you need to work to, how to deal with banks, insurance companies, pension providers and perhaps the title deeds to their home.

We have the experience and knowledge to help you obtain Confirmation through the Scottish Courts.

Our dedicated Scottish solicitors and paralegals are available to listen to your concerns and guide you through this difficult time with clear and considered legal advice.

We adapt to suit your needs - whether this means dealing with the entire estate or simply reviewing the Court papers and HM Revenue & Customs forms you have completed - and our initial conversation with you is completely free. 

To have a chat with us today, call us on 0141 628 5544. You can also contact us via our Enquiry Form or speak with a solicitor at any time (evenings and weekends included) through our Live Chat facility.

Weir Law provided an excellent and professional service, helping me finalise my late dad's estate. Nothing was too much bother and I was guided through all the legal forms with ease. I would use their services again if needed and would have no hesitation recommending Weir Law to others.

Margaret Findlay, Glasgow

We have helped 4,698 families with our Confirmation services since January 2018
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Depending on the estate you're dealing with, you can choose from any of the following services:

Small Estate Service

This is a free-to-use service.

We provide completely free advice to guide you through the process of obtaining Confirmation to a small estate in Scotland. 

If the person who has died has worldly goods and possessions valued at less than £36,000 then this is classified as a "small estate".

We will give you the advice and assistance you need to obtain Confirmation to a small estate in Scotland. 


This service is offered to you free of charge. Contact us today on 0141 628 5544 or send us an Enquiry.

Depending on the estate you're dealing with, you can choose from any of the following services:

Large Estate Service

To unlock assets & property.

If you are named as an Executor in someone's Will - or if you are the closest relative of someone who has died - we can take the stress out of the process by completing all Court and tax forms required to obtain Confirmation in Scotland.

This service includes addressing Inheritance Tax, estate tax returns, legal rights (and other) claims on the estate.

We offer a fixed-fee for this service, so you know exactly what it'll cost at the outset.

Questions & Answers

Questions & Answers

DIY Confirmation Service

If you're doing it yourself.

You've got the Forms and you have all the information you need to submit these to the Sheriff Court.


You just need someone to look-over your documents and give you a professional steer.  

We offer a fixed-fee service to review and advise on your application for Confirmation.


Contact us now to chat this through and we'll take the time to guide you through the application process.

Managing my late father's estate from abroad was proving stressful and very difficult until I called Weir Law. From the first telephone call to the last e-mail I have received a very high level of customer service from a very professional team. The fees are clear and represent very good value for money. I can highly recommend them.

Iain Third, Belgium

Frequently Asked Questions

How many copies of Confirmation are needed?

Unless you ask the Court to provide additional copies (at cost), the Executor will receive only one, sealed version of the Confirmation document. This could prove time-consuming for the Executor to exhibit this document to all of the third parties holding the deceased person’s asset. We therefore recommend that you obtain three to six additional Certificates of Confirmation when applying to the Sheriff Court for Confirmation in the first instance. Additional Certificates cost £8.00.

What are the Court’s costs for obtaining Confirmation/probate?

There are statutory Court fees for issuing confirmation in Scotland. If the gross estate value is less than £50,000 then there is no fee payable to the Court. From £50,001 to £250,000 the Court’s fee is currently £266; from £250,001 upward, the Court’s fee increases to £532. These Court fees are reviewed and increased on an annual basis by the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service.

How to proceed without Confirmation/probate?

You may not require Confirmation in Scotland if the gross value of the deceased’s estate is less than £36,000.

What is a bond of caution?

A Bond of Caution is a particular type of insurance policy used to protect the estate’s beneficiaries from any mistakes made by the executor in the administration of the estate. The Bond of Caution also offers protection in circumstances where someone who is not entitled to apply for Confirmation does so, or where an executor fails to distribute the estate in accordance with the law. Without a Bond of Caution, the Sheriff Clerk will reject all applications for Confirmation where the deceased died without having made a Will and without having been survived by a spouse/civil partner.

How do I get a bond of caution?

​​The Bond of Caution can only be obtained through a solicitor dealing with an insurance company. There are several Bond of Caution providers, however these providers will not be able to provide a Bond of Caution to an individual without the involvement of a solicitor. Weir Law can assist Executors in obtaining a Bond of Caution with minimal paperwork and expense.

What is a small estate?

A small estate is an estate where the gross value of the deceased's money and property is £36,000 or less. In calculating the gross value, you should not deduct any debts, such as funeral expenses, gas or electricity bills, balance of mortgage, owed by the deceased.

What is a large estate?

A large estate is an estate where the total value of the deceased's money and property is over £36,000. Dealing with a large estate (or one where the deceased owned a house or other property) can often be complicated and it is advisable to get legal assistance with the large estate procedure in Scotland.

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

​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.

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 Solicitors focus on Confirmation and Probate and in Scotland. With office locations in Glasgow, Edinburgh and throughout the country, we cover all locations throughout Scotland. We also act for individuals living abroad who have been tasked with dealing with a Scottish deceased's estate. Whatever your query, contact us today on 0141 628 5544 or info@weirlaw.co.uk

Probate Lawyer in Glasgow


We will guide you through the entire estate administration process and provide you with a considered 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 help with the next steps after a death.