Confirmation (the Scottish equivalent of probate) is the legal process that takes place after someone has died. You may need to obtain Confirmation before any of the deceased’s assets (i.e. savings, premium bonds, their share of a property) can be released. There are two types of Confirmation in Scotland: small estates and large estates. This article will focus on Confirmation Scotland, large estate.
A large estate is an estate where the total value of the deceased’s money and property exceeds £36,000.00.
Remember, it is the total value of all estate assets – not just the cash and savings – that’s important here. The value of the deceased person’s interest in a flat or house or piece of land must be included in the calculation.
Dealing with the Confirmation paperwork
When you apply for Confirmation, you need to populate an Inventory of the deceased’s assets – valued precisely as at the date of their death. It is very important that the Inventory (and the rest of the form(s) required by the Court) are completed accurately and in conformity with the requirements of the Court.
As with most matters these days, there is a lot of information online to assist you in obtaining Confirmation, however, each case is quite distinct and it is very easy to mistakenly apply guidance suited to the laws of England and Wales to a Scottish estate matter.
Dealing with a large estate or one where a house or other property is involved can be complicated and the general advice is to instruct a solicitor to help you deal with the Confirmation process in Scotland properly. Sometimes the estate itself is very straightforward but there can be family disputes about possessions that a solicitor may be able to help with.
You have to be very careful if you are acting as the executor on your own without legal help. If you make a mistake and miss out some details about the property, money and belongings owned by the person who died, you could be held liable and have to pay a financial penalty.
Can the Scottish Courts help me?
Unfortunately, the Scottish Courts will not assist you with a large estate. The Courts are expressly prohibited from assisting people who are applying for confirmation to large estates. If you contact the Courts for advice and assistance, you will be advised to obtain legal guidance from a professional executry solicitor.
Do I need to get Confirmation in Scotland to a large estate?
A large estate in Scotland will usually – but not always – require Confirmation before the deceased’s assets can be released to the Executor for distribution in terms of the deceased’s Will, or in terms of the default laws of Scotland that apply where someone died without making a Will.
Confirmation is almost always required when the person who died held one (or more) of the following assets:
- £20,000 or more (although the figure can vary from bank to bank)
- Property/land held in their name or jointly without a survivorship destination.
- Premium Bonds.
- Some insurance and pension policies
If the person who has died has one or more of the above assets, it is likely that you’ll need to obtain Confirmation to their large estate. If that is the case, you can speak with us for a free initial consultation to map-out the process required to deal with your particular estate.
Bear in mind: you can only apply for Confirmation in Scotland if there is money or other property situated in Scotland. The Courts in Scotland will not entertain an application for Confirmation where there are no assets listed in Scotland.
What happens after I’ve got the Confirmation from the Court?
Once the Court has granted Confirmation, you (or your solicitor) can send this to each asset-holder to facilitate the release of funds to you (or your solicitor) for eventual distribution to the beneficiaries – but remember: the person dealing with the estate must first settle all tax payable, debts, liabilities, claims on the estate before the beneficiary (or beneficiaries) can get what they are due to inherit.
If you need to talk to an expert about applying for confirmation for a large estate in Scotland, contact us today on 0141 628 5544, email firstname.lastname@example.org or Make An Online Enquiry and we’d be delighted to talk with you.