Making arrangements after the death of a relative or friend can be difficult. A solicitor can offer practical advice and support in the process of dealing with the Estate. If the deceased did not make a Will then the Executor (the person who administers the Estate) has to be appointed by the court. This is done by way of Petition and a solicitor can prepare the Petition and have it lodged at the relevant court. If the deceased died with a properly drafted and executed Will then there is no need to do this.
The Executor must find out what the Estate is worth by adding all the assets and deducting all the liabilities. This might involve writing to banks, building societies, the Department for Work & Pensions, utility companies and anyone else whom the deceased was involved with financially. An inventory of the Estate has to be drawn up and it might be that the question of inheritance tax will arise.
After preparing the inventory the Executor requires to obtain Confirmation (in England this is called Probate) from the relevant sheriff court. Confirmation is the legal document which gives the Executor the authority to engather the Estate by writing to the various banks etc and distribute the Estate according to the Will of the deceased or to the law of intestacy where there is no Will.
An Executor does not have to employ a solicitor but if there is a large Estate or one where there is a house or other property, many bank accounts or shareholdings, or arguments with beneficiaries then things can get very complicated. Beneficiaries will often put pressure on an Executor to wind up the Estate quickly and sometimes relationships between family members can get difficult and disputes may arise. An Executor might find him or herself very much at the centre of attention and can in fact be held personally liable for any errors that might be made. By employing a solicitor with experience in winding up Estates, the Executor can be relieved of some of the inevitable pressure.
If the deceased owned a house at date of death then Confirmation requires to be obtained in respect of the house before title can be transferred to a beneficiary or before the house can be sold. Ideally Confirmation should be obtained before the property is put on the market for sale to prevent complications arising during the conveyancing process.
We have experience in dealing with the winding up of Estates, marketing properties and selling them. We can advise you at all stages of the process from how to appoint an Executor to obtaining Confirmation, putting the house on the market and ultimately transferring title to the purchaser.
We would be happy to discuss matters with you over the telephone or if you have any questions we can be contacted by email.
974 Maryhill Road
Glasgow, G20 7TA
0141 945 1917