Obtaining confirmation - Scotland

Obtaining confirmation - Scotland

Contents

What is Confirmation?

'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').

Different terms associated with a deceased person?s estate

If the person who has died leaves a will

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 the person who has died didn?t leave a 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 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.

When Confirmation is needed

Confirmation is almost always needed when the person who dies leaves one or more of the following:

  • ?5,000 or more (although the figure can vary significantly depending upon which institution is holding the funds. In practice in some cases, Confirmation can be dispensed with in cases where the estate is worth up to ?30,000, but in other cases lower limits will apply, depending upon which institution is holding the assets)
  • Stocks or shares
  • Certain insurance policies
  • Property or land held in their own name or jointly with another without a survivorship destination in the title.

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.

When Confirmation may not be needed

Confirmation may not be needed where:

  • The person who died left a total estate not exceeding ?5,000 (although the figure can vary significantly depending upon which institution is holding the funds. In practice in some cases, Confirmation can be dispensed with in cases where the estate is worth up to ?30,000, but in other cases lower limits will apply, depending upon which institution is holding the assets)
  • The deceased owned everything jointly with someone else and everything passes automatically to the surviving joint owner

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).

Confirmation and Inheritance Tax

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.