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Dealing with a Loved One’s Estate in Scotland - Confirmation Letter

What is ‘Confirmation’?


Confirmation is the name given to a legal document which the executor receives from the court. This document allows you to begin administering the estate. It gives you the authority to uplift any money or other property belonging to the deceased person from the holder e.g. the bank and administer and distribute it accordingly. To receive a confirmation letter, an application is lodged with the sheriff court.


When applying for confirmation, if you are the executor you must provide a list of the deceased’s assets at the time of their passing. This list is known as an inventory and includes assets such as cash, property, land and shares. You can only apply for conformation if the inventory include a minimum of one item of money or property in Scotland.


There are two types of confirmation, one for small estates and another for larger estate.


Small Estates

Ø Total value of the deceased’s estate is £36000 or less.

Ø If the estate is a small estate, the sheriff clerk is able to assist you in preparing the inventory. You can arrange an appointment by contacting your local sheriff court.


Large Estates

Ø Total value is above £36000.

Ø If the estate is a large estate, the sheriff court is unable to assist you in preparing the inventory, but rather recommends that you seek professional advice and assistance. Usually the professional body who wrote the Will can assist you in preparing the inventory.

How do I calculate the value of the estate?

Ø You should not deduct any debts e.g. funeral expenses, gas or electricity bills, outstanding mortgage balance or other debts owed by the deceased.

Ø You should calculate the total value of the deceased’s money and property, including interest to date of death.

They passed without a Will, what do I do?

If the deceased did not leave a Will, the estate is referred to as ‘intestate’. If they have not left a Will, you may have to get a document known as a bond of caution from the sheriff court before you apply for confirmation.


A Bond of Caution is used to protect any beneficiaries, those who will be receiving assets from the estate from any errors that may be made during the distribution of the estate. If they have left a large estate, you will need to apply to be appointed executor, using a procedure known as dative petition.


If you require further assistance and advice in calculating and dealing with yours or a loved ones estate, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 0330 390 9200 where an experienced member of our Executry Team can advise you on how to proceed with the administration of an estate.

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