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Do I Need a Lawyer to Apply for Confirmation?

  • The Law Society of Scotland

When someone dies in Scotland, it will be necessary to ‘apply for probate’, although this term technically only applies in England and Wales. In Scotland, the correct term for the process of applying for legal permission to wind up an estate is called ‘Confirmation’. While it is not essential to have a solicitor to obtain Confirmation, it is certainly highly recommended that you do. The process can be lengthy and complicated. Executors of an estate are ultimately responsible for ensuring that the estate is dealt with properly. The best way to ensure legal compliance is to seek advice from a qualified and dedicated solicitor.

At Claphams, we are experts in this field and have advised families in Clarkston, Newton Mearns, Giffnock, Netherlee and the surrounding areas in Glasgow for decades. Our highly experienced team are skilled in dealing with executry and estate management. We can guide you through the process with sensitivity and efficiency.

Below we outline the key steps involved in obtaining Confirmation. If you have any queries about the process, or would just like to talk through your options, our specialist team would be happy to discuss your circumstances.

Obtaining Confirmation

In any estate, the executors are the people responsible for the administration. Executors can be named in a Will or, in the event that the deceased died without a Will, the executors can be appointed by the Sheriff Court using the dative petition procedure. It is therefore important to quickly establish whether there is a Will in place. It may be advisable to contact the deceased’s solicitor to confirm whether they hold a Will on behalf of the deceased. At Claphams, we have experience in dealing with both testate estates (where there is a Will) and intestate estates (where there is no Will) and can advise you on how to proceed in either eventuality.

In order for the executors to be able to gather in the estate and distribute it to the beneficiaries, they will need to obtain Confirmation. Confirmation is a legal document granted by the court, giving the executor the legal authority to distribute the money or property according to the Will. Until you have Confirmation, you cannot distribute the estate. Banks, building societies and others will require to see the Confirmation before you can take out any funds or sell any property. You will not be able to progress the administration of an estate without Confirmation.

In order to obtain Confirmation, an inventory of the estate must be prepared. This list will include all of the items owned by the deceased, including money in bank accounts, shares and homes. It will also be important to consider whether there is any foreign property within the deceased’s estate, such as a holiday home abroad. In preparing this inventory it will be necessary to have the relevant items valued. This can involve liaising with estate agents and financial advisors in a bid to ensure accurate values are attributed to each item.

In terms of obtaining Confirmation, there are different types of procedure depending on the size of the estate, whether the estate is small or large. If the total value of an estate is less than £36,000, it will be classified as a small estate. Anything above this will be classified as a large estate. There are different procedures and fees to be paid depending on what type of estate is involved and it is therefore important that you fully understand the financial position of the estate as soon as possible.

Once the inventory is prepared, executors can then apply to the Sheriff Court to receive the legal document - ‘the Confirmation’ – which allows them to ingather these items and distribute them as appropriate. If the estate is large (exceeding £36,000), the Sheriff Court will not be able to assist executors in applying for Confirmation. Therefore, due to the complex legal issues that can arise, we highly recommend you get access to professional legal advice.

If all is in order, the court will issue the documentation naming the executors and giving them the authority to act. This document can then be shown to all the interested parties, such as banks and building societies, to allow the executors to gather in the property of the deceased. Distribution to the beneficiaries will then take place. Inheritance tax issues will also need to be dealt with and any relevant tax paid.

Our Expertise

While obtaining Confirmation and dealing with the distribution of an estate can seem daunting, this is where our expert team of solicitors can assist you.

We understand that the thought of dealing with a loved one’s property after they’ve passed away can be upsetting and stressful. That’s why, at Claphams Solicitors in Clarkston, we offer clear guidance and compassionate support so all the legal requirements can be dealt with efficiently.

It is important to remember as the executor of an estate that you are responsible for ensuring compliance. It can be difficult during a time of emotional upheaval to know how to deal with the process and how to ensure all regulatory requirements are observed. It can also be very time consuming, involving significant day to day administration. Liaising with banks, building societies, financial advisors and estate agents can take up a considerable amount of time. Equally, navigating the rules around inheritance tax can be extremely challenging.

At this difficult time, you need trustworthy, understanding and professional executry lawyers to guide you through the legal formalities and to take as much of the burden off your shoulders as possible. We can provide any level of support you need, from offering initial advice on what steps to take next to handling all the elements involved in winding up the estate.

Contact our Wills & Executry Solicitors in Clarkston, Newton Mearns, Giffnock, Netherlee, Eaglesham, Carmunnock, Stewarton Southside Glasgow

Our highly experienced team have helped many clients in Clarkston, Newton Mearns, Netherlee, Giffnock, East Kilbride and the Greater Glasgow area deal with the administration of an estate. Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’d like to discuss your situation. Contact us today on 0141 280 4982 or fill out our online enquiry form if you require our assistance.

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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.