Tips for winding up an Estate of a loved one

Winding up an Estate is the distribution of a loved one’s assets after they have passed. Watermans Legal understand that this can be a difficult time for all involved, and so we offer sensitive and professional guidance. Once the family has registered the death and organised the funeral, a solicitor will assess their assets and complete the necessary paperwork. We understand that every case is different and recommend hiring a solicitor to provide tailored legal advice. However, Watermans Legal have compiled a short summary and some tips on how to manage the process of winding up an estate.

What paperwork is required?

  • Will
  • Death Certificate
  • Any life policies
  • Bank statements
  • Title Deeds of any property
  • Evidence of any other assets and debts

How long does it take to wind up an estate?

The process of winding up an estate can take approximately one year. The Law Society of Scotland guidance states that a creditor has six months to collect any debt payable. Although, this time estimation does depend on the courts, the state of the Will and the time it takes to repay any debts accumulated.

confirmation forms

What is “Confirmation” and “Probate?”

Confirmation is the submission of the legal documents to the Commissionary Office at the court. These legal documents include an inventory of the estate together with the relevant tax forms. Confirmation by the courts is required before the Executer can take control of the property and remaining funds. This usually takes about six weeks to process.

What Scots call it ‘Confirmation’ but in England and Wales, they call it probate. Probate is the administering the Will and Estate of someone who has passed without a Will. The courts will assess the validity of the Will and the Executor will gain the legal authority to dispense and claim the deceased person’s assets.

How to make the process easier:

We asked our solicitor Shawn Wood, who specialises in Wills and Executries, for some of his top tips for a smooth legal transition after you’ve passed.

  • Firstly, and most importantly, it is vital that you have a Will.

Without this vital legal document, the process of winding up an estate can take years to finalise; especially if there are family disputes to resolve. Without, your family will face higher legal costs and will spend a great amount of time in courts and legal offices. Therefore, it is essential that you have an up to date Will that stipulates your wishes and instructions.

Last year Unclaimed Estate highlighted that there are approximately 250 Glasgow estates that have not yet been claimed. Had their previous owners had a Will, this number may be lower.

  • Be as organised as you can

Probate Estate Administration

By keeping your files in order, important documents such as certificates and financial information, you will make the process of winding up the estate far easier for your family and solicitors. They will quickly be able to provide these documents, rather than rummaging through the home, which will inevitably speed up the process.

  • Finally, Shawn suggests that you speak to a Tax Advisor.

They will be able to assist you in dealing with any tax implications, such as Inheritance Tax. This ensures that you are not leaving your loved ones to deal with any tax liability which will ultimately reduce their share of inheritance.

If you are yet to write your Will or require legal advice on updating your will, assigning a Power of Attorney, or for assistance setting up Guardianship or Intervention Orders, contact our experienced solicitors on 0131 467 5566