Whether dealing with the Will of a loved one or looking to make one yourself, it’s important to know the legalities of the Executry process in Scotland.
During our lifetimes, most of us will amass a considerable amount of ‘stuff’. The bulk of this may be savings and property. But it will also include lots of other items ranging from large items of significant monetary value to smaller items of very special sentimental value.
When we die, this property is referred to as our estate. At this point, everything that belonged to us will need to be distributed among the people or organisations closest to us.
Your Will will specify in very clear language how YOU want your estate to be distributed and to whom.
When is a Will Legally Valid? (And when is it not?)
A Will requires family members to follow its terms. This is irrespective of their feelings on what you have decided.
However, we have all heard of long and drawn-out disputes over wills and inheritances. It is primarily for this reason that there are requirements that need to be met before a Will can be deemed legally valid.
For your Will to be legally valid:
- The Will must have been made without pressure from anyone else.
- The Will and its directions must be in writing. It cannot be in the form of a verbal conversation between family members.
- The Will must be signed in the presence of a witness.
Who Carries out the Wishes of a Will?
After a death, the estate left behind will need to be sorted through, organised and distributed.
This process is known as the Executry or administering the estate.
Dealing with the Executry
In a Will, one person will have been chosen to ensure the wishes of the Will are carried out. That person is called the Executor. If, however, the deceased has not left a Will, an application will need to be made to the local court to appoint an Executor. The person appointed will normally require to be the deceased’s next of kin.
The Executor must then follow a process:
- Read the deceased’s Will, if applicable. This document will set out what the Executor is to do with the deceased’s property. Where there is no Will, the estate must be divided in terms of the laws of Succession.
- Organise for Confirmation – often referred to as ‘Probate’. This involves contacting the Scottish courts to obtain permission to begin the administration of the estate according to the terms of the deceased’s Will. There are different kinds of Confirmation that can be asked for depending on the value of the estate left behind.
On receiving an application for Confirmation, the courts will look to ensure all the necessary paperwork has been completed and is in order.
It is only after Confirmation has been granted that an Executor can begin to follow the terms of the Will or the laws of Succession.
Specialist Executry and Probate Lawyers Inverness, Highlands, Scotland
Innes & Mackay know that the Executry process can be complicated and we understand the problems clients face in attempting to follow the Executry rules. The process can involve a lot of paperwork and talking to parties who money is owed to or from.
We know the responsibilities of being the Executor of a loved one’s Will can feel overwhelming at an already distressing time.
We’re experienced in helping Executors complete their job in administering a loved one’s estate, and in advising families if a loved one has died without a Will.
We will relieve you of much of the burden you’re feeling and guide you through the process as smoothly as possible.
For help with the legal process after the death of a loved one, call us on 01463 232 273 or fill in our online contact form.