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Do I Need a Bond of Caution?

  • The Law Society of Scotland

When someone dies, a person or small group of people (usually relatives or close friends) will take on the responsibility for overseeing the collection and distribution of the money, property and other assets that make up their estate. These people are known as Executors. Executors do not gain the authority to deal with the deceased’s assets immediately – instead, the estate will be frozen until Confirmation is obtained.

Depending on the circumstances, a Bond of Caution may need to be obtained before the Sheriff Clerk will grant Confirmation. The specialist Executries Solicitors at Claphams can provide advice and guidance on seeking a Bond of Caution if required, as well as support on all other matters concerning Wills and Estates. Contact us today to find out how we can help.

What is a Bond of Caution?

A Bond of Caution is a particular type of insurance policy used to protect Beneficiaries from any mistakes made by the Executors in the distribution of the estate. They also offer protection in circumstances where someone who is not entitled to apply for Confirmation does so, or where an Executor fails to distribute the estate in accordance with the law.

When is a Bond of Caution needed?

Historically, Bonds of Caution needed to be obtained in every estate; however, this is no longer the case. A Bond of Caution is required for most estates where an Executor has not been appointed in the Will – the most common example of this will be when the person died without making a Will, known as dying 'intestate’. There are some exceptions to this rule, specifically:

  • Where the deceased’s spouse or civil partner is due to inherit the whole estate
  • Where the total value of the estate is less than £36,000, known as a small estate

It should also be noted that the Scottish Government has been granted powers to bring in further regulations in this area, with the possibility of further modifications in the future.

Where can a Bond of Caution be obtained?

There are two insurance companies authorised to provide a Bond of Caution. They are:

  • Royal and Sun Alliance; and
  • Zurich Insurance

Can I apply for a Bond of Caution myself?

No, individual Executors cannot apply for a Bond of Caution. The insurance providers listed above will only provide this if a firm of solicitors is instructed to oversee the administration and winding up of the estate.

How much does it cost to obtain a Bond of Caution?

The cost of obtaining a Bond of Caution will depend on the total value of the estate. The minimum fee charged by insurance companies is around £250, with the cost for larger estates likely to be over £1,000.

Executries Solicitors Clarkston, Newton Mearns, Giffnock, Netherlee, Eaglesham, Carmunnock, Stewarton & Southside Glasgow

Our Executries Lawyers can provide comprehensive advice on all matters regarding the winding-up and administration of a loved one's estate. To arrange an initial appointment, call us today on 0141 620 0800 or fill out our online enquiry form.

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Please note we are a firm of Scottish Solicitors helping clients across Scotland and cannot help you if you are based in England.