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.

Taxation

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.

The fee would depend on the individual circumstances of the case. Please contact us to discuss your requirements on 0131 564 1044. 

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

£8,000 upwards

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

Contact us

Please get in touch with executry lawyers in Edinburgh Quill Legal for a preliminary discussion on 0131 564 1044 or email Kay at kay@quilllegal.co.uk.

FAQs

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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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