What is Confirmation or letter of confirmation ?

Confirmation is a legal document that is granted by the Courts in Scotland confirming that the Executor of a Will has the legal authority to distribute the deceased person’s estate.

You will need this document as proof to send to banks and financial institutions to allow you to transfer money, property, shares, insurance policies, pensions or other assets according to the Will

What's Involved in applying for Confirmation?

In order to have Confirmation granted by the Court, an Executor must provide a list of all the deceased person's assets and liabilities known as an inventory at the date of death along with the application for Confirmation to the court. All assets and liabilities must be disclosed within the inventory.

There are some circumstances where Confirmation is not required. If you are unsure as to whether or not you require Confirmation, you should seek our professional legal advice.

Once Confirmation has been granted, the Executor can then legally deal with the assets and liabilities held by the deceased person as well as distributing the estate.

Executors should be mindful that an estate should not be distributed until 6 months post date of death. However, interim payments can sometimes be made to the beneficiaries whilst winding up the estate.

The cost depends upon the size of the estate involved as well as the time involved in investigating the deceased person's estate and making the application to the court for Confirmation.

Many people who administer the deceased person Estate don’t have the time, expertise or the money to deal with all the upfront costs of dealing with the Estate. It is important that the Executor gets matters right as mistakes can be costly.

We can take this burden from the Executor and you will be pleased to know we do not charge any upfront fees and any costs incurred can be taken from the Estate at settlement.

What about Inheritance Tax (IHT)?

You should be aware that IHT is payable on the value of the deceased person’s estate at the date of their death. If the deceased person made any gifts or transfers during their lifetime, then these may also need to be declared and accounted for.

IHT will apply to estates that are valued at more than the Nil-Rate Band (the threshold). The current Nil-Rate Band is £325,000. IHT is charged at a rate of 40% on the chargeable value of the estate above the Nil-Rate Band, after taking into account the value of any chargeable lifetime transfers. The chargeable value is the value after deducting any liabilities, relief and exemptions that apply.

If the total estate is valued at more than the Nil-Rate Band, then Executors will be required to complete Inheritance Tax forms.

How long does it take to wind up an estate?

Applying for Confirmation can be a relatively complex process and therefore it is difficult to accurately predict the timescale.

The timescale for completion of an executry can depend on several different factors including the extent of the assets and liabilities, if there is a property to be sold, if there is a Will, if there are any Legal Rights claims, etc.

You should be aware that foreign assets can also cause delays.

McEwan Fraser Legal can give you advice on dealing with a deceased person's estate. Our understanding and compassionate Private Client team are on hand to assist with the winding up of the Estate and aim to deal with the estate effectively and in a timely manner.

If you would like more information, then please do not hesitate to contact us on 0131 524 9797.

Note: This article is for information purposes only and does not constitute any form of advice or recommendations. You should seek proper professional advice from this firm before making any decisions.

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