'Confirmation' is the term used in Scotland when talking about applying for the right to deal with a deceased person's affairs (called 'winding up the estate').
When a person dies leaving a Will, they are said to have died 'testate'. In this case, one or more 'executors' may be named in the Will to deal with the person's affairs after their death. An executor appointed in a Will is called an "executor nominate", but is usually referred to simply as an executor.
The executor applies for Confirmation from the Sheriff Court within the jurisdiction of which the deceased last resided.
The Confirmation is a legal document which confirms that the executors have the authority to deal with the deceased person's assets (property, money and possessions). The executors can use it to show they have the right to access funds, sort out finances, and collect and share out the deceased person's assets as set out in the Will.
If there is no Will, the deceased is said to have died 'intestate'.
A close relative of the deceased can apply to the Sheriff Court to be appointed Executor-dative. Before administering the estate, they may need to obtain an insurance guarantee bond, called a Bond of Caution (pronounced "Kayshun"). After that they can apply to the Court for Confirmation in the same way as for a testate estate.
Confirmation is almost always needed when the person who dies leaves one or more of the following:
In most cases above, the bank or relevant institution will need to see the Confirmation before transferring control of the assets. However, if the estate is small, some organisations, such as insurance companies and building societies, may release the money to you at their discretion.
Confirmation may not be needed where:
To establish whether the assets can be obtained without Confirmation, the executor would need to write to each institution informing them of the death and enclosing a photocopy of the death certificate (and Will if there is one).
The relevant court will not issue Confirmation to an executor until some or all of any Inheritance Tax that is due on the estate has been paid.