When it comes to dealing with the estate of someone who has recently died, several legal steps must be carried out before the deceased's estate can be distributed amongst the beneficiaries identified in their Will, or in line with the Rules of Intestacy if there is no Will. Some stages, particularly those that require documents to be issued by the court, will require fees to be paid. While the overall cost of winding up an estate will vary depending on the nature of the estate itself, the following provides guidance on what family members and executors should expect to pay in order to wind up an estate.
An executor will be required to obtain confirmation before they can deal with property owned by the deceased at the time of their death. Often referred to as a ‘letter of confirmation', this is a legal document that is granted by the court to provide proof that the executor is authorised to access these assets and will require to be presented to institutions such as banks, insurance companies and mortgage providers to demonstrate this. To obtain confirmation, an inventory detailing all of the property, money and other assets that make up the estate must be produced.
The court charges a fee for an application for confirmation to be lodged, which varies depending on the value of the estate. In Scotland, fees are charged at a different rate from England and Wales. Applications are made to the Sheriff Court, which charges a fee for receiving and examining the inventory. The costs are:
- Estates up to the value of £50,000 – no fee
- Estates valued between £50,000.01 and £250,000 – £261
- Estates worth more than £250,000 – £522
There are additional fees for copies of the certificate that the court will produce to prove that confirmation has been obtained. At present, the fee charged for a copy of the certificate is £8. You may need multiple copies of this if you are dealing with many different institutions in the course of winding up the estate.
Inheritance Tax (IHT) is paid on a person’s estate when they die if the total value of the estate is over £325,000. At the moment, the rate of IHT is 40%. For IHT purposes, an estate is considered to be:
- The person’s house and any other property they owned
- Money held in bank, building or savings accounts
- Shares and investments
- The person’s possessions, such as a car or any antiques they owned
- Any sums due to be paid out under an insurance policy
- A right to share in a deceased’s estate
An outstanding IHT bill must be paid before assets can be distributed amongst the desired beneficiaries.
Contact our Expert Executry & Probate Solicitors Glasgow, Scotland
The specialist executry solicitors at Wilson & Fish can provide comprehensive support on all matters concerning the winding up of an estate. Our team is based in Glasgow, but we regularly work with clients across Scotland including Ayrshire, Falkirk, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee, Paisley, East Kilbride and Stirling. Speak to one of our friendly and approachable executry lawyers today by calling 0141 222 7951, or fill in our online enquiry form.