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 not required if the assets in the estate are worth less than £36,000, or if a spouse or civil partner is inheriting 100% of the estate if the estate is under a certain limit.
If you do need a bond it is possible to obtain one without a solicitor if the estate is under £250,000. The cost of a bond depends on the size of the estate.
If the estate is over £250,000 and you require a bond, you will need to hire a lawyer to do this for you, and the terms of the insurer would mean the lawyer would have to administer the estate from this point onwards. We can help you get to this point without a lawyer so that you can minimise your legal fees as much as possible.
For more information on Bonds of Caution, contact us.