Probate or Confirmation?

I was stopped recently by a pleasant young chap in Livingston Shopping Centre who asked me if I had thought about how I was going to cover the expenses of obtaining “probate” to my estate on my passing – I suspected he was selling life insurance.

He looked a bit non-plussed when I explained to him that I or rather my Executors would not need to apply for “probate”. I went on to explain that “probate” was a term of English law. In Scotland an executor applies to Court for what is known as “Confirmation” rather than the grant of probate.

However, whilst the names differ the purpose behind the application and grant of Confirmation and Probate are the same – to give the Executor legal authority to deal with a deceased person’s estate.

The Executor(s) are appointed in the deceased person’s Will or if there is no Will by the Local Sheriff Court following an application being made to it for appointment by the next of kin.

Once appointed the Executor(s) task is to implement the Will if there is one, if not follow the rigid rules of the Scots Law of Intestacy to decide who gets what.

Either way this will usually involve the Executor uplifting monies held by the deceased in a bank or building society, claiming insurance money, selling shares or selling the deceased person’s house before distributing the assets.

The Executor should of course also pay the deceased’s debts.

Obtaining Probate or Confirmation is therefore only one aspect of winding up the estate. The whole process can be divided into three mains parts, firstly investigating and valuing the deceased’s assets; secondly preparing and lodging the application for Confirmation and finally distributing the assets and settling debts after obtaining Confirmation.

At Purdie Maclean we are happy to assist with the whole process but can also help with particular aspects of winding up an estate. We understand that family members may wish to carry out certain steps themselves and are happy to work with you to ensure your needs are met. Whatever you engage us to do we aim to provide value and clarity. We do not, unlike other solicitors, charge a fee based on the value of assets of the estate. We will meet with you to get an understanding of what needs to be done then provide you with a no obligation Fixed Fee quotation.

We offer a quality service at a fair and transparent price.

If you require advice or assistance call Purdie Maclean on 01506 420333.