Understanding the Requirement for Estate Confirmation
Confirmation is a crucial step in process of Administration of an Estate in Scotland. It is required before any money or property belonging to the deceased can be released. Financial institutions such as banks, building societies, and insurance companies often request Confirmation to ensure the proper Transfer of Assets. Confirmation is typically necessary in the following scenarios:
- If the estate is worth £5,000 or more (although this amount may vary depending on the institution holding the funds).
- If the deceased owned stocks or shares.
- If certain insurance policies are present.
- If the deceased owned property or land in their own name or jointly with another person without a survivorship destination.
In most cases, the bank or relevant institution will require confirmation before transferring control of the assets. However, some organisations may release funds at their discretion for smaller estates. It is advisable to consult and experienced Estates Solicitor for further advice and guidance on Winding up an Estate.
Applying for Estate Confirmation
To apply for Confirmation in Scotland, an Executor needs to apply to the Court and create an inventory, which is a comprehensive list of the deceased's estate. The inventory is a crucial consideration for Confirmation/Probate in Scotland. The application for Confirmation is then made to the Sheriff Court.
It's important to note that Confirmation can only be applied for in Scotland if the deceased was domiciled in Scotland. When preparing the Court application for Confirmation an Estate solicitor will investigate the total value of the estate’s assets and debts which will then be included in the inventory. The Estate solicitor will then prepare the application for Confirmation for the Executor to sign and then submit all the paperwork to the Sheriff Court in the relevant Sheriffdom in accordance with the laws of jurisdiction.
Complex Types of Confirmation
- Confirmation where there is no Will.
When someone dies without a Will and their estate requires Confirmation, there are different steps that are required to be followed. Since there is no Will in place, no-one has been appointed to act as Executor. An Executor will first have to be appointed and this is done by a Court order which a solicitor will prepare. Then a Bond of Caution, which is an insurance bond, must be obtained before any application for Confirmation is made to the Court. The Bond of Caution is a legal requirement in Scotland for an estate seeking Confirmation since it is a policy to protect beneficiaries if they do not receive their inheritance for any reason. The insurers require that a solicitor is involved in winding up the estate and the solicitor will apply for the insurance on behalf of the Executor.
- Missing beneficiaries
Tracing missing beneficiaries can be complex, especially if there are unknown relatives. Where the Will is not clear on who should inherit, or if there is no Will in place, then a detailed search should be carried out to determine possible claimants and beneficiaries. This can involve genealogists and the preparation of a family tree. In some instances, if a Will gives an incorrect or out of date address for a beneficiary, the individual will then l need to be traced using Sheriff Officers.
- Confirmation where there is inheritance tax payable
When someone dies and their estate is liable for inheritance tax then an inheritance tax return must be prepared and submitted to HMRC before any application to the Court is made. It is wise to discuss this with a solicitor or tax adviser to ensure that applicable tax forms are completed and submitted within the time limit. There is a 6 month deadline from the date of death to submit and pay the inheritance tax, after which interest becomes payable.
Instructing a Solicitor to Obtain Confirmation
If you are in Glasgow, Aberdeen, or anywhere else across Scotland and require legal guidance on obtaining Confirmation as part of an estate, it is important to seek advice from one of our qualified Estate Solicitors. Get the best outcome for you and your family - Call us on 0141 478 9090 for our Glasgow office, 01224 002 556 for our Aberdeen office or click here to make a free online enquiry