Executries Scotland: Best Practices
The best executry services in Scotland are those that are efficient and that understand and appreciate that one of the main priorities of the deceased’s relatives will be to seek closure. In order for this to happen, certain steps must be carried out under Scots law. One of the most important steps is to obtain Confirmation, the Scottish equivalent of probate.
Scottish Executry (Probate) Solicitors
These steps can be summarised generally as follows:-1. After obtaining instructions to wind-up the estate of the deceased, a copy of the will (if available) is made. If there is such a will, the process is known as testate succession. It is either be kept safely or sent for registration in the Books of Council & Session in Edinburgh by recorded delivery with an extract being obtained.
2. In addition to checking that funeral arrangements are or have been made, copies of the death certificate are obtained.
3. The deceased's will, if there is one, is then reviewed, with identification of the executors of the will. It is important to check that the executors are able and willing to act.
4. If the deceased died without a will (in which case he or she is considered to have died intestate), those who can act as executors will be ascertained. This will usually be the spouse of the deceased or the next of kin.
5. The deceased’s assets (and liabilities) will thereafter be identified - e.g. house (and mortgage), car (and loans), bank accounts (and overdrafts), credit card accounts, investments, insurance policies etc.
6. The banks, insurance companies etc. will then be notified of the death, with valuation of the assets taking place thereafter.
7. An inventory of the deceased's assets and liabilities is prepared, which is then sent to the executor for approval.
8. If the estate appears to be worth more than £325,000, arrangements are made to borrow funds to pay the inheritance tax liability before Confirmation can be issued. Interestingly, there are currently proposals to incentivise charitable legacies. There have been many examples of charitable legacies in Scotland, such as a £1.5 million bequest to support the RNLI or a legacy to fund a free vet clinic in Edinburgh.
9. Thereafter the inheritance tax due is paid. It is important that the correct amount of inheritance tax is paid.
10. Sheriff Court forms, namely the C1and C5 forms in respect of Confirmation,in addition to the will and other documents, are then completed and submitted to the Sheriff Court. If there is no will, a Bond of Caution is arranged and prepared. Under Scots law a solicitor is not required for obtaining Confirmation provided the estate is relatively small (less than £36,000) and there is a will, although this procedure is nevertheless complex for the lay person.
11. When the Certificate of Confirmation is received from the Sheriff Court, it is then sent to each bank or company holding the assets with a Certificate of Confirmation and Repayment Form, asking for the relevant sum due to the Estate, together with a Certificate of Deduction of Tax if needed. In return, the organisations will release the deceased's assets to the executors and close or transfer the deceased's accounts and files.
12. Any HM Revenue & Customs questions concerning the values of assets or liabilities of the estate are dealt with at this point, with agreement being reached on the final figures. Any additional assets or liabilities that have come to light since Confirmation was granted to be reported at this point also.
13. When all the assets are collected and 6 months have passed since the date of death, the debts are paid, including any unpaid income tax and capital gains tax relating to the deceased's income up to the time of death.
14. An income tax return is then prepared and completed with details of the income of the estate to the end of the tax year during which the deceased died. Any tax due is paid.
15. A Form IHT30 is completed and submitted. (This is an application for formal discharge from Inheritance Tax); the discharge certificate is awaited from the Revenue.
16. At this point, letters are sent to pecuniary legatees and any legacies due under the Will are paid. The estate is then distributed to the beneficiaries, with a formal discharge being obtained from each beneficiary. In some cases interim distributions may have been paid at an earlier stage, but only if the executors were certain that there would be sufficient assets to pay all the liabilities.
17. A discharge of Legal Rights is also to be obtained if required.
18. Estate accounts are then drawn up for approval by the executor and residuary beneficiaries. Form R185 (Estate Income) is sent to the residuary beneficiaries displaying their shares of the income of the estate and the tax deducted from it during the tax year. New Share Certificates are also enclosed if appropriate.
19. When all cheques have cleared, the executors' account is closed and the administration of the estate is at this stage complete. All accounts are saved for 12 years, with the will, confirmation, legacy receipts, final account with receipts and discharges, closed bank books and clearance certificate Form IHT30 being put away safely. Any personal papers can at this point be returned to the family.
Expert Scottish Executry Solicitors in Glasgow, Paisley & AyrshireOur Scottish executry expert solicitors can advise on the best approach to winding up an estate. For advice on any of the above information and on all aspects of executries and trusts in Glasgow and throughout Scotland, contact our solicitors today on 01412227951 or complete our online enquiry form.
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Our Confirmation Only service includes producing an inventory of the assets & liabilities of the estate based on information provided by you, completion of the Form C1 (Application for Confirmation) C5 (Inheritance Tax Return for Excepted Estates), preparation of the executor's declaration and docquetting of the Will. You will then submit the Forms C1 and C5 to the Sheriff Court and receive Confirmation.
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