At Wilson & Fish, our specialist lawyers have advised clients at all stages of the executry process. We provide an efficient, tailored service to clients across Scotland, including working with executors. Winding up an estate involves various legal and practical issues. Here, we explain how to in-gather an estate and realise assets including property, investments, pensions, salaries, and savings.
The term ‘ingathering' is used to describe the process of obtaining access to, or realising the deceased's assets so that they can be distributed to the appropriate beneficiaries. For example, the deceased might have had bank accounts with three different banks and have indicated in their Will that all their cash is to pass to a particular beneficiary. As executor, you would be expected to obtain payment from the banks to the executry account so that you can pay the beneficiary from the executry account.
Realising an asset simply means converting it into cash. In the context of winding up an estate, you may not realise all of the deceased’s assets – for example, he or she may have bequeathed their house to their partner, in which case you would arrange (with a solicitor) for ownership of the house to be conveyed to the partner. If, however, the beneficiaries are to receive their legacies as cash sums, you will need to realise the assets.
As mentioned above, in the case of bank accounts (savings, current, and investment), you will arrange with the bank for the transfer of the funds to the executry account. If the deceased was employed, it might be sensible to wait until their final wages are paid, although you can also arrange with their employer for sums owed to be transferred directly to the executry account. It would also be good practice to check at this stage whether the deceased had a death-in-service benefit (i.e. an agreement with their employer that a certain sum is to pass to a named individual in the event of their death), although these funds would not be paid to the executry account.
Immovable property (the deceased’s home) is more complicated, as you will need to market and sell the house/ flat. There are particular conveyancing rules where the seller is an executor – our lawyers can advise on this to ensure that the sale is completed correctly. You are also obliged to ensure that every effort is made to ensure that the value of the sale is at or above the property’s market value (rather than, for example, settling the sale after the first offer to ensure that the estate is wound up as quickly as possible).
In terms of shares, it may be possible to arrange for the relevant funds to be transferred in full with the deceased's investment manager, where appropriate. Otherwise, you will need to contact the registrars listed on the deceased's share certificates.
Pensions can be a particularly complex issue and will depend in part on whether the pension provider agrees that some or all of the pension should continue to be paid to the deceased’s spouse or civil partners.
In all cases, you will need to obtain Confirmation to show that you are entitled to receive the cash value of the asset following its realisation. Some asset holders may also require to see the death certificate. Our solicitors can ensure that all of the paperwork is in order.
Contact our Executry Lawyers
The processes of in-gathering and realising assets are time-consuming and can be legally complex. If you would like to seek the assistance of an executry solicitor, or would like to discuss any other executry matters, please contact us by telephone (0141 222 7951) or via our online form.