In Scotland, the laws and procedures pertaining to probate are significantly different from the rest of the United Kingdom.
In the case of a person’s death, all their assets including bank and building society accounts are automatically frozen; this is regardless of whether they left a will or not.
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In the case that the person left a will, the Executors appointed in the will have to apply to the Commissary Department of the Sheriff Court local to the area in which the deceased resided at the time of death for a document called “The Grant of Confirmation”, which is the Scottish equivalent of probate. The document allows the appointed Executors to administer all of the deceased’s property and assets.
It should be noted that in Scotland, male Executors are referred to as Executor-datives, and females as Executrix-datives.
When applying for the grant, the Executors will have to provide a valuation of the deceased’s assets. Confirmation will not be granted until all or part of the applicable Inheritance Tax has been settled.
Once Confirmation is granted, the Executors will be able to unfreeze the assets and distribute them in accordance to the wishes set out by the deceased in the Will.
When is confirmation not required?
In some cases the wealth of the deceased can be distributed immediately. The Executors would not require Confirmation, if the deceased’s assets were held in joint names with their spouse, or if the person’s bank or building society allows to withdraw and distribute the money without seeing the Grant of Confirmation. Normally, that would only be the case if the total value of the estate is less than £30,000.
Valuation of the Estate
Normally, it is advisable to appoint a solicitor when dealing with large or complicated estate. However, certain details of the deceased’s property can be collected by the Executor, these include but not are limited to:
Buildings, houses, land
Life insurance policies
Any other item which is valuable and can be transferred to another person
Assets and items that the deceased has given away in the last seven years of their life must also be taken into account during valuation. The liabilities in this category may include:
Funeral expenses can also be included in this category.