Stuart Millar, an Associate in the Personal Law team in Edinburgh, answers some of the questions you might have about executries when no will has been left. The law is different in Scotland, compared to England, and Stuart talks about the Scottish grant of confirmation process when there isn’t a will.
Video transcript: Executries – Helping You When There Isn’t a Will
How much will it cost me to get assistance with the executry?
If you’re acting as an executor it won’t cost you anything to obtain legal advice in relation to the estate. All expenses of the estate, including legal fees, are payable from the funds held as part of the estate.
How long will it take?
The process of administering the estate will take at least six months, the time period set by law to allow creditors to make a claim on the estate. However, if the estate is complicated – so, if there is a property to sell or if there are inheritance tax issues, for example – then often the estates can take longer than that.
How do I find out if there might be a will?
If you’re not sure whether the deceased held a will or not, the first step to take is to carry out a review of the deceased’s papers and find out if there’s any sign of a will. Otherwise, you could make enquiries with the deceased’s solicitor, if they had one, and there are also searches that we can instruct to seek to locate a will or identify missing assets.
Who will inherit the assets?
This will just depend on the particular circumstances. If the deceased was survived by a spouse then that spouse will be entitled to a certain amount of money and assets. And after that amount has been exhausted, the children will also inherit some assets from the estate, and then it would fall to more remote relatives. It’s possible to instruct genealogists to assist with research and to find out exactly which family members there are surviving.
If there isn’t a will, who is entitled to be the executor?
Generally speaking, if somebody is entitled to inherit a share of the estate then they will also be entitled to act as executor of the estate.
Do I need a grant of probate?
Probate is a term that’s used in England and the equivalent in Scotland is called a grant of confirmation. It’s an application to the Sheriff Court where you need to prepare a list of all the assets of the deceased and the grant of confirmation gives you power as executor to deal with the assets of the estate.
I’m the executor – is it going to be a lot of work for me?
If you wish to leave the whole administration of the estate to a solicitor we’d be more than happy to deal with that on your behalf. If you would like to carry out some of the estate administration work yourself but you would like to enlist the help of a solicitor, then we can certainly discuss with you exactly which parts you’re going to be responsible for and which parts it is that we can help out with.
Contact us about being the executor of a will
At Gibson Kerr, our Personal Law Solicitors in Edinburgh and Glasgow can help you with your executry. If you would like to arrange a meeting, or have any questions about the process, please do not hesitate to contact us.