How long does confirmation of a Will take in Scotland

How long does confirmation of a will take in ScotlandThe time it can take to obtain Confirmation of a will in Scotland can vary depending on many factors, including the complexity of the deceased person’s estate, the likelihood of contentious issues or disputes within the family or beneficiaries, and the workload of the particular Sheriff Court in Scotland.

In a straightforward case with no complications or disputes, the process of obtaining Confirmation of a will in Scotland typically takes between three to six months.

The “six month rule”

There is a common practice in Scotland in which the person named in the Will as Executor is advised to aim to complete the administration of an estate within six months after obtaining Confirmation (probate) in Scotland.

This practice is not a legal requirement but rather a guideline followed to ensure the efficient administration of an estate – and to allow organisations such as the Department for Work and Pensions sufficient time to calculate whether or not it is owed repayments from the estate of the deceased person.

The six-month rule of administration is considered a reasonable timeframe for most straightforward estates. Executors or administrators are expected to take the necessary steps to collect and distribute assets, pay debts and taxes, and finalise the estate’s administration within this period.

Can it take more than six months?

It is important to note that the complexity of the estate, the presence of disputes or challenges, and many other factors can influence the actual time it takes to administer an estate. In more complex cases, the administration process may extend well beyond six months. Some estate matters can take years to conclude.

If you are an executor of an estate in Scotland and have concerns about meeting the timeline or if the estate is complex, it is advisable to seek legal advice and communicate with the beneficiaries to keep them informed of the progress.

How can I speed the process up?

Speeding up the process of obtaining Confirmation of a Will in Scotland can be achieved by taking several proactive steps and being organised throughout the estate administration process. However, executors should be aware that the process of obtaining Confirmation is likely to take several months to complete.

If you are keen to progress matters on the estate, the best way to move matters on is to instruct a solicitor to assist you with the administration of the estate, this may lessen the burden on your shoulders.

Remember that while these steps can help expedite the confirmation process, some factors, such as the court’s workload and the complexity of the estate, may still affect the timeline. Consulting with a solicitor who specialises in Scottish estate law is often the best way to navigate the process efficiently and ensure compliance with all legal requirements.

How to obtain Confirmation of a Will in Scotland:

Gather Information: The executor of the will (usually named in the will itself) or their solicitor will gather all necessary information about the deceased’s assets, debts, and beneficiaries.

Inventory and Valuation: An inventory of the deceased’s estate is prepared, which includes listing all assets, such as property, bank accounts, investments, and personal possessions. The estate must be valued accurately.

Application for Confirmation: The executor (or their solicitor) will prepare an application for Confirmation. This is a legal document that includes details of the deceased, the particular assets of estate and their values on the date of the person’s death, and the overall calculation of Inheritance Tax due (if any). The Confirmation document includes a declaration by the Executor(s) named in the Will, to state that the Confirmation document in its entirety is true to the best of the Executor’s knowledge and belief.

Submitting the application: The application for Confirmation is submitted to the Sheriff Court closest to where the deceased person lived – unless the person who has died was ordinarily resident outside of Scotland. The court will review the application and may request additional information if needed.

Grant of Confirmation: Once the Sheriff Court is satisfied with the application, it will grant Confirmation. This is a legal document that allows the executor to administer the estate and distribute assets to beneficiaries.

Asset Distribution: The Executor will then settle any outstanding claims, debts and/or taxes, then will proceed to distribute the assets according to the terms of the Will.

The timeline for obtaining Confirmation can be influenced by various factors, including the Sheriff Court’s caseload, the complexity of the estate, and whether there are any disputes or challenges to the Will. If there are disputes, the process can be significantly delayed as legal proceedings may be required to resolve them.

Get the right legal advice now

It is advisable to consult with a solicitor experienced in Scottish succession law to guide you through the process, especially if the estate is complex or if there are any potential issues that may arise during the confirmation process. For free advice at this stage regarding Confirmation of a will in Scotland, contact us today on 0141 628 5544, email or Make An Online Enquiry