What is the Executry Process?

The Executor of a Will in Scotland acts as a person’s representative after their death. Executry is the term used to describe the deceased’s Estate in the hands of the Executor.

Quill Legal provides with Executry Services in Scotland and can help you with the whole of the winding up process or simply with parts of it. Please call us to find out how we can make the task much simpler for you, whether you are in Bonnyrigg or Broxburn, Dalmeny or Danderhall or elsewhere.

How the Executry process works

1. Appointment of Executors

  • If one exists, one of the first things to attend to after a death is to obtain a copy of the deceased’s Will in Scotland
  • Where there is a Will Executors will have been appointed in that Will; they are known as Executors Nominate and the Estate is described as testate
  • If the deceased’s Estate has no Will the Estate is described as intestate. A petition will have to be made to the Court to appoint an Executor Dative; that person will generally be someone entitled to inherit, known as a beneficiary

In Scotland, Executors are responsible for :

  • Ensuring the security of the deceased person’s possessions
  • Making up a list of all the deceased person’s property, that is the assets in the Estate
  • Applying to the Sheriff Court for a grant of Confirmation if required
  • Ingathering all the funds held by institutions such as insurance companies, building societies and banks and for which Certificates of Confirmation from the Sheriff Court must be produced if the sums held exceed the institution’s threshold for release
  • Paying any debts and taxes due by the Estate
  • Dealing with any claims for legal rights
  • Distributing the Estate to the beneficiaries, that is to those entitled under the Will or according to the law

Quill Legal are Executry Lawyers in Scotland and we can draw up the appropriate petition to have an Executor appointed by the Sheriff Court. Please get in touch with us to find out how we can help.

2. Applying for Confirmation

  • Executors are responsible for notifying all relevant parties and financial institutions of the death, for drawing up a list or inventory of all the property that belonged to the person who died and for lodging the application form for Confirmation in the Sheriff Court, along with the Will if there is one.
  • All the assets have to be valued and if the Estate is worth over the inheritance tax threshold the appropriate amount of tax must be paid before the application can be lodged.
  • Where there is no Will it may be the case that a bond of caution is required; this is an insurance policy which ensures that the Estate will be distributed according to the law.
  • Confirmation of the Executor Nominate or of the Executor Dative is the permission, granted by the Sheriff Court, which allows an Executor to wind up the estate of a deceased person.
  • In England and Wales there is a similar process but the language used is different. Probate in England and Wales is the equivalent of Confirmation in Scotland but some people refer to applying for probate in Scotland or grant of probate in Scotland.
  • If the deceased person owned assets in other countries or if you are administering a foreign estate with assets in Scotland there will be additional procedures to comply with.

As Executry Lawyers in Edinburgh Quill Legal can assist you with all of these tasks and to comply with your duties as Executor. Quill Legal can obtain whatever permissions are required to meet your legal responsibilities. We can advise you how to get probate in England and Wales and can help you to understand what Confirmation of estate in Scotland is. Quill Legal are Executry Solicitors in Edinburgh but are able to provide executry services throughout Scotland. We will answer your questions and respond to any concerns you may have. Contact us for a preliminary discussion.

3. Distributing the Estate

  • When Confirmation is granted by the Sheriff Court the relevant Certificate of Confirmation must be sent to each bank or other institution holding funds, requesting their release and closure of the account
  • As creditors may make a claim against the estate for up to six months after a death, the estate should not be distributed until that time has passed 
  • Executors are responsible for settling any outstanding debts as well as for paying any further tax due
  • Claims for legal rights must be investigated and any legacies due under the Will should be paid before the final distribution is made.

Do I need a Solicitor?

There is no obligation to seek legal advice when winding up an estate. The process can be complex, particularly for larger estates and we suggest that it would be helpful for you to do so. 

Dealing with the death of someone is hard and the tasks involved in complying with the duties of an Executor will be considerably eased by employing the services of a solicitor.  

The legal fees and any expenses incurred by an Executor are payable out of the estate and Executors do not need to fund the cost themselves.

If the value of the estate is small, currently worth less than £36,000, advice can be made available by the Sheriff Clerk at the Sheriff Court local to the place where the deceased lived. 

Quill Legal are Executry Solicitors Edinburgh and will help you to deal with the burden of winding up an estate, as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Solicitors’ fees for winding up estate

Our fees

Quill Legal Executry Solicitors Edinburgh understand that you do not want to be uncertain about the fee that will be charged at the end of the administration of a deceased person’s estate. 

You should be aware that the legal fees are payable out of the funds held by the deceased’s estate and the out of pocket expenses incurred in carrying out the duties of an Executor are refundable out of the estate.

An estimate of our fees will be drawn up after a preliminary discussion with you, which will allow us to assess the amount of work involved. We will let you know if that assessment has to change during the course of the winding up of the estate, either because there is more work involved than originally anticipated or because it is more complicated than previously assessed.

We do not charge any commission based on the sums retrieved from the deceased’s accounts. We charge a fee to reflect the amount of work we anticipate having to carry out for the whole period of the estate administration. 

We want our fees to be affordable and our aim is to be open about the way in which we charge. 

As a general guide and depending on the circumstances of the Executry if there is no inheritance tax payable the fee will vary from around £700 for smaller estates to between £1,000 and £3,000 where the deceased held moderate assets and for instance an application for tax relief has to be made or the court has to be asked to appoint an Executor in cases of intestacy. Where inheritance tax is payable the fee will be higher.

Court dues

The court dues for receiving and examining the inventory of assets vary according to the value of the estate and currently are :

  • Under £50,000: no fee
  • £50,000 to £250,000 : £266
  • Exceeding £250,000  : £532

In addition each certificate of Confirmation: £8 

Petition to have an Executor Dative appointed :  £19


We offer discounts to staff members of the University of Edinburgh and Falkirk Council – please contact us for details or consult your staff discount scheme handbook.


If there are any debts outstanding at the time of death they have to be settled by the estate if funds are available. Debts do not become the personal responsibility of the Executor.
Where there is no Will and Confirmation is required an Executor will have to be appointed by the Sheriff. Those entitled to be appointed are the spouse if there is one or other family members.
This is an estate where no inheritance tax is payable. The current threshold is £325,000 but the rules are complex and various tax exemptions may apply.
A beneficiary who receives a share of the estate is entitled to have a copy of the final executry account and of the Will. Those beneficiaries who are to receive a specific legacy, such as a piece of jewellery, are not entitled to see the Will and nor is anyone who is not referred to in the Will. The Executor has the discretion to allow it.
A letter of Confirmation is another term for a Certificate of Confirmation. When Confirmation is granted by the Sheriff Court such Certificates are issued in respect of each of the deceased’s assets.
The timing will depend on several different factors such as whether there is a house to be sold, whether there is a Will, if there are any legal rights claims to be assessed or if there are any missing beneficiaries. A small estate with a foreign asset may take just as long as a large estate with only one asset. Creditors have six months to lodge any claims against the estate and the funds should not be distributed until that period has passed.
The Executor should deal with it as quickly as possible and if necessary seek professional advice. If reference to the Will does not resolve the matter the Solicitors acting for an Executor in a particular case should advise the beneficiaries to seek independent advice as they cannot also act for them.
Any asset including digital ones can be bequeathed to another person but the practicalities of this and the policies of any social media providers need to be taken into account. It is likely to be difficult if not impossible for any Executor to access, or even discover, a digital asset, which will normally be protected by a user name and password. Bereavement policies are now being created by providers of social media accounts and this may allow Executors to close or memorialise a deceased person’s account. This remains a developing area.

We are a small firm specialising in the area of Executries and Wills and have many years of experience to draw upon. We have dealt with foreign estates with assets in Scotland, estates with assets abroad, those where Wills have been challenged and those where legal rights claims have been made. You will have personal access to an experienced solicitor and be kept fully informed throughout the Executry process.

Inheritance tax is charged at 40% of any sum above the nil rate band threshold, currently £325,000. This threshold is increased if the home is left to a child or grandchild. Exemptions apply when an estate is left to a spouse or charity. The rules are complex and it is wise to obtain legal advice on the particular circumstances of your case.

Client reviews

Why choose us as your Executry Lawyers?


Professional, reliable and flexible

Our aim is to impress. We want to ensure that you are confident that we understand your needs, that we know the relevant law, that we will apply it to your situation and that you can rely on us.


Accessible prices

Our fees are indicated on this website. We have a transparent approach to feeing and want you to be clear about the cost of our services. Wherever possible we will offer you a fixed fee after a preliminary discussion.


Support for the local community

We participated in the charity Will writing initiative offered by Will Aid in 2019 and were proud to sponsor some of the charitable work carried out by the Salvation Army Gorgie Edinburgh. We plan to repeat our participation in Will Aid in 2020 as well as to support other local charities.


Committed to sustainability

We care for the environment by using very little paper and travelling by public transport and we are looking for other ways to reduce our environmental impact.

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