Who should deal with the estate?
The next of kin should deal with the estate.
An unmarried partner is not entitled to anything under the rules of intestacy but may apply to the court for a share in their estate if they are not being provided for. They have 6 months from the date of death to do this.
Need grant of confirmation?
If there are items in the estate that require confirmation, the next of kin will need to be appointed as executor by the Sheriff Court. The application costs £19 but you will need to have special paperwork prepared called a ‘petition’ or ‘initial writ’.
You can hire a lawyer to do this for you.
If there is a spouse/civil partner being appointed as executor, then they can apply for confirmation as normal.
The problem comes when there is no spouse or civil partner to be appointed.
Bond of Caution
A Bond of Caution (pronounced ‘Kay-shun’) is a special type of insurance that protects beneficiaries if the executor incorrectly distributes the estate.
When applying for confirmation, it is usually not required if a spouse or civil partner is inheriting 100% of the estate, or if the assets in the estate are worth less than £36,000.
The cost of a bond depends on the size of the estate. Unfortunately, if a bond is required there are very few providers and only one of them (Lawsure) would even consider issuing a bond to an individual, but it is on a case-by-case basis.
If you require a bond it is highly likely you will need to hire a lawyer and the terms of the insurer would mean the lawyer would have to administer the estate.