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Executry/Probate Lawyers Glasgow, Scotland

When someone close to us dies, everything they have left behind will need to be organised and distributed. This process of winding up a deceased’s estate, sometimes referred to as probate, is known as executry in Scotland and those responsible for carrying it out are known as the executors. Exactly what will be involved in winding up an estate, and how complex the process will be, largely depends on whether or not the deceased made a Will and what they have left behind. Despite this fact, executry is often a very difficult process, particularly for those who were very close to the deceased and trying to come to terms with their loss.

If you need assistance with executry or more information about what’s involved in winding up an estate, please contact our approachable and experienced executry solicitors. We can help you understand what’s involved and guide you through the executry process.

Probate ('Executry') in Scotland

The first step involved in winding up a deceased’s estate is to identify the executors (the deceased’s legal representatives), who will either be named in a Will or appointed by a court if there isn’t a Will.

Who Can be an Executor in Scotland?

Where there is a valid Will, the deceased will usually appoint executors who are relatives or friends and sometimes the deceased’s solicitor. Where there is no Will, or where no executors have been appointed, the Court can appoint an executor. The court appointed executor is known as the executor dative in Scotland, and will usually be a beneficiary of the estate. To apply for appointment as an executor dative, applicants should petition the local Sheriff Court to area the deceased resided. If you are seeking appointment as Executor Dative, speak to our solicitors who can take care of the application process on your behalf. We understand this can be a difficult time for you and your family, and we are here to help you smoothly through what can be a stressful experience.

More than one person is appointed executor in a Will (usually two people, but sometimes three to avoid deadlock in decision making), which means the responsibility can be shared. Solicitors regularly do executry work, either as appointed in the Will, or on behalf of appointed executors.

Winding-Up the Estate in Scotland

The next step requires the executors to get permission from the court to start the process of winding up a deceased’s estate. This is known as confirmation (probate in England and Wales) and involves making an application to the Sheriff court for the area where the deceased lived. The application for confirmation must include certain things, such as an inventory of the property, money and other assets that make up the deceased’s estate.

The executor is responsible for ingathering the assets of the estate (property and personal possessions), dealing with all the paperwork involved and settling affairs. Once confirmation is granted, the executors can start identifying the deceased’s assets, paying off liabilities (such as debts, utility bills, inheritance tax and funeral expenses) and once this is done, they are responsible for distributing what remains according to the terms of the Will or, if there isn’t a Will, the intestacy rules in Scotland.

While it isn’t strictly necessary to have legal assistance when winding up a deceased’s estate, a solicitor can help smooth the executry process and ensure executors meet all their legal obligations. They can also help executors to ingather and value the deceased’s assets, assist with calculating and paying inheritance tax and advise on managing any disputes that can arise between the deceased’s relatives over inheritance. In most cases, an executor who gets legal assistance can pay all reasonably incurred legal fees out of the deceased’s estate.

What are the Executor’s Duties in Scotland?

The executor must assume many responsibilities. This can be a time consuming and lengthy process, depending on the size of the estate. It is possible to claim expenses from the estate for any costs however, executors may not take a fee unless the Will states an executor fee.

The duties ­­­­­of an executor include:

  • List the property on the estate and apply for Confirmation
  • Safeguarding and managing the property of the estate person until it is distributed
  • In-gather assets held by other organisations (e.g. banks, insurance providers or building societies)
  • Pay off debts and taxes due by the estate
  • The executor will be liable for the estate; however, the executor’s personal liability is typically limited to the value of the estate
  • Distribute the estate according to the deceased’s Will or the law of Scotland where there is no valid will
  • The executor is responsible for any errors made in the distribution or management of the estate. Executors should therefore keep clear records of all transactions and correspondence, so that disputes over the Will or with regards to compliance to correct procedure can be resolved swiftly.

When does an Executor’s Duties End?

You must first ensure there have been no claims against the estate in six months following Confirmation, or by a cohabitee the six months after the date of death. 

Any personal effects bequeathed should be distributed. It is important to get receipts for any items given and accounts should be drawn up and be approved by the beneficiaries. Once all this is in place, the executor’s account should be closed once all payments have been made.

Contact our Executry & Probate Solicitors Glasgow, Hamilton, Paisley, Edinburgh

We are a team of approachable, responsive, client-focused solicitors, who pride ourselves on offering personalised, tailored advice. Operating throughout Scotland, we offer an open door policy and legal services tailored to your needs and budget. For clear, down to earth, legal advice and assistance from experienced executry solicitors, contact us via our online contact form, or give us a call on 0141 413 9229.

Jones Whyte Law private client solicitors serving clients across Glasgow, Paisley, Hamilton and Edinburgh.

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