Dealing with a death will always be difficult but Quill Legal can help you to manage the process and relieve you of much of the burden, whether you are an executor or family member.
The executor of a Will in Scotland acts as a person’s representative after their death and an executry is the term used to describe the deceased’s estate in the hands of the executor.
Quill Legal provides executry services in Scotland and can help you with as much or as little of the winding up process as you wish. Although based in Edinburgh Kay can also advise you how to get probate in England and Wales and is available to provide executry services throughout Scotland.
Your immediate tasks after a death as an executor
These are steps you can usually attend to yourself but please do not hesitate to get in touch with Quill Legal if you need assistance with any of them:
- Deal with any organ donation issues as soon as possible
- Obtain the certificate of death showing the cause of death, if required a certificate authorising cremation and then register the death
- Locate the Will if there is one and check any funeral directions
- Make contact with a funeral director
In particular we can help you to:
- Discover if there is a Will and where it might be stored
- Arrange for payment of the funeral undertaker’s invoice. Most banks will settle the invoice in respect of the funeral without the necessity of confirmation and we can present the bank with the invoice for immediate payment
Do you need an executry solicitor in Scotland?
If there is no Will
When there is no Will the next step may involve making an application to the Sheriff Court to appoint an executor. If confirmation is required another court application will have to be made, once the details of the estate are known. Most executors will be unable to deal with these aspects of the winding up process themselves.
If things go wrong, you may be held personally liable
Executors can be held personally liable for their acts in certain circumstances and the administration process can be complex, particularly for larger estates. Although it is not obligatory, at this stage it is important that an executor considers seeking legal advice and support with the overall management of the winding up. The cost of doing so will be met out of the estate funds so an executor does not incur personal liability for legal fees.
A specialised executry solicitor is familiar with the process and is able to take an objective view. This can be helpful when family members may feel emotional and unable to resolve issues which arise. A solicitor will ensure that all the relevant forms are completed accurately, that the inheritance tax position is correctly assessed, that returns are lodged on time and that tax is paid where necessary.
This is how Quill Legal can support you to carry out your duties as an executor effectively
Securing the property
If there is a vacant property we will ensure that it is secured and that the insurance company is made aware of the change of circumstances. You may need to put in place additional measures such as switching off the water supply and redirecting post but we can assist you with this. If the house has to be cleared we will arrange for the uplift and appropriate disposal of furniture and personal effects.
Informing all parties who need to be informed of the death
It is important to let not only fund holders know but also any relevant private pension providers so that overpayments of pension are avoided. We will ensure that any sums which have to be repaid are refunded when estate monies are received and that any other estate debts are settled.
Appointment of an executor
If there is no Will and there is a property or funds to be released from banks, we will arrange for an executor to be appointed by the court. We will consider the family make up and assess who is the most appropriate person to be appointed.
Approaching fundholders or obtaining a valuation
We will approach all fundholders to ensure that they are made aware of the death and to request details of the balances held by them. We will arrange for valuations to be carried out of any assets such as jewellery or works of art. We will ensure that any insurance companies are alerted of the death so that they can arrange for swift release of any funds to nominated beneficiaries.
Acquiring insurance when there is no Will
In cases of intestacy, when the deceased left no Will, it will often be necessary to obtain a bond of caution, which is a type of insurance policy. It is designed to safeguard the interests of the beneficiaries and the cost will be met out of the estate funds. We will arrange to obtain a quotation and will prepare the necessary paperwork for the executor to sign.
Completing an application for confirmation to submit to the Sheriff Court
We will complete the necessary application forms and agree them with the executor before lodging the application for confirmation in court. Completing all the details required to be inserted in the relevant forms can be time consuming and confusing for an executor who is unfamiliar with the process.
In discussion with you we will arrange to obtain funds to pay any inheritance tax due within the time limit. We will also ensure that any outstanding income tax is settled and liaise with HM Revenue and Customs as necessary.
Investigating any liabilities of the estate and recording them
We will make contact with any potential creditors, obtain accurate details of any sums due and include them in the assessment of the overall value of the estate. When funds become available we will arrange to settle any debts owed by the deceased.
Paying legacies under the Will
If the deceased has left legacies to individuals or charities we will ensure that they are paid as soon as feasible and will obtain a relevant receipt.
Inviting any legal rights claims and obtaining discharges
We will discover whether there are any potential claimants of legal rights and will make an accurate calculation of their entitlement. If they wish to proceed with a claim we will make a payment to them when appropriate and seek their discharge.
Distributing the net funds in accordance with the Will or the law on intestacy
When all the liabilities have been settled and any legacies and legal rights claims have been paid we will ensure that the net funds are distributed in accordance either with the deceased person’s Will or with the law on intestacy. We will seek acceptance of the estate accounts and discharges from the beneficiaries.
We are specialised Executry Solicitors in Edinburgh
How much does it cost to wind up an estate?
Assistance with part of the estate administration
We are happy to consider providing assistance only with those parts of the administration where you request our input; this would reduce the fees payable by the estate and might mean for instance that we would only assist the executors with the application to the Sheriff Court for confirmation.
Assistance with the whole of the estate administration
|Executry - whole of the estate administration||Fees (estimate)|
|Small estates||£900 - £1,500|
Medium size straightforward estate
The administration will be straightforward, there is no inheritance tax to pay, there is a valid Will, an executor willing to act, a small number of beneficiaries and no family disputes or claims against the estate
|£1,500 - £3,500|
Medium to large size more complicated estate
There is a valid Will and an executor already appointed and able to act, there may be a variety of assets and multiple beneficiaries, potential disputes or claims against the estate, spouse or other exemptions apply although the estate may be over the inheritance tax limit
|£3,500 - £8,000|
Larger estates with potential for complex issues
A valid Will exists and an executor able to provide instructions, multiple assets and beneficiaries, potential family or other disputes, a liability for inheritance tax, multiple tax schedules required, related relief and exemption claims
Additional work will be required where
- There is no Will or no executor remaining willing or able to act, in which case the Sheriff Court has to appoint an executor
- A bond of caution is required in cases of intestacy; this is a type of insurance policy which provides security for the beneficiaries
- There are any disputes between the beneficiaries or the executors.
In these circumstances an additional fee will be payable and will be charged at no more than £180 an hour.
The fees indicated above do not include the cost of any property conveyancing.
In each case we will give you as accurate an assessment of fees as is feasible at the start.
Sheriff Court dues
The court dues for receiving and examining the inventory of assets vary according to the value of the estate and currently are:
|Sheriff Court dues||Fees|
|Assets under £50,000||£0|
|Assets between £50,000 and £250,000||£266|
|Assets exceeding £250,000||£532|
|In addition each certificate of confirmation||£8|
|Petition to have an executor dative appointed||£19|
Our undertaking to you when assisting you with your duties as executor
- We will help you only with those parts of the winding up process with which you need our assistance
- We will keep you informed throughout
- We will account to you in full at the end of the process
- We will do all that we can to relieve the stress of coping with the death of a family member or friend
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.