What is Probate?

Probate, known as Confirmation in Scotland, is the legal process for a person, or persons, to prove their right to deal with the assets of someone who has died.

Scotland is a separate and distinct legal jurisdiction with its own set of rules governing the obtaining of Confirmation, and also has rules relating to Wills and the succession to estates without Wills (called Intestate estates).

​Do you need Probate/Confirmation?

In certain circumstances it may not be necessary to obtain Confirmation to sort out Scottish assets. In many cases where property or assets are held jointly, the joint owner may be able to deal with the property or assets (for example, a joint bank account) without the need to obtain Confirmation.

If the value of the assets in the estate is modest, it may be possible for the next of kin to deal with banks, insurance companies etc. by completing simple claim forms. If you believe that the situation you are dealing with falls into this category, then your first point of contact should be the banks, insurance companies or other institutions holding assets of the deceased.

What are the steps required to obtain Confirmation?

The basic steps required to obtain Confirmation in a Scottish estate are:-

  • An investigation to establish what assets (monies, property, investments etc) were owned by the deceased.
  • An investigation to establish if the deceased made a Will (testate estate) and if not the appointment of an Executor by the court (intestate estate).
  • Value the assets of the estate, and determine whether there might be any tax.
  • Application to the local sheriff court to obtain Confirmation.
  • Sending the Confirmation to banks, insurance companies and other institutions to close the various accounts.
  • Payment of debts and liabilities.
  • Payment of legacies as outlined in the deceased’s Will.
  • Transfer of the remaining assets (called “the Residue” in Scotland) to the beneficiaries entitled to a share in the balance of the estate.