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Scottish Law

(11 Posts)
gettingmyrewardinheaven Fri 29-Jan-16 16:53:37

My mother died a few weeks ago. She didn't leave a will but the estate is fairly simple in that there's no property/assets other than cash (pension & bank account) & there's only my sister & I to divide the estate between. The total value of the estate is about £40,000 & I believe we need 'confirmation' of the estate to wind it up. We have been quoted a fixed fee of £1800 for a legal firm to wind up the estate (vat & Sherif court fees will add about £700 to this) which will include collecting monies from the relevant organisations & notifying hmrc that there's no inheritance tax due, etc. (& now I finally get to the point) are any of you familiar with this process? Do you know if this is a reasonable fee? & is it advisable to use a lawyer or a simple enough process to follow ourselves? TIA

AnthonyBlanche Fri 29-Jan-16 19:42:33

You can do it yourselves, but it's not that simple. if the estate is over £40k probably best to get a solicitor involved. The sheriff clerks office will help with form filling for estates under £40k, but not estates over that amount.
www.scotcourts.gov.uk/taking-action/frequently-asked-questions/your-questions-on-dealing-with-a-deceased's-estate gives more info.

AnthonyBlanche Fri 29-Jan-16 19:49:52

Ps. You could shop around for lower quotes for solicitors for doing the work. However cheapest is definitely not always best for legal work - there are some really terrible solicitors out there!

gettingmyrewardinheaven Fri 29-Jan-16 20:16:26

Thanks AnthonyBlanche, I was leaning towards using a solicitor but my sister thinks it's just a money making exercise for them & we should do it ourselves.

AnthonyBlanche Fri 29-Jan-16 20:26:58

Get your sister to download and read all the hmrc and court forms. If you're both confident you can deal with it all go ahead, and certainly do ifmthenstate is under £40k as the sheriff clerk's office will help you.

Solicitors do expect to make money from the work we do and depending on the firm who gave the quote and their charge out rates, £1800 doesn't cover that many hours. You would only get 6 hours of my time for that amount shock - needless to say i am paid considerably less than £300 per hour!

gettingmyrewardinheaven Fri 29-Jan-16 21:58:44

I understand that the solicitor expects to make money out of providing the service. It's more that my sister thinks they were trying to 'scare' us with the threat of dire consequences if we get it wrong, advising us to use their services when we don't really need to. Whereas I think it'd relieve us of a lot of stress since the solicitor would take over dealing with the various organisations involved. It seems like the whole process is time consuming as well, so another reason to hand it over to the professionals grin

blaeberry Fri 29-Jan-16 23:19:47

My mil did it herself with fil estate (there was a will and it was a bigger estate). I think she offered to do a lot of the running around herself to keep the costs down then realised there wasn't much more left to do. She did have a solicitor friend to keep her right though. It also took her a fair amount of time. For her though there was the added benefit of understanding and taking on the finances which was something fil had always done before.

STIDW Fri 29-Jan-16 23:35:12

My cousin & I did it ourselves but I wouldn't recommend DIY because there are many legal loopholes. It was a DIY will & there was an issue with the wording relating to the witnesses. One was unable to conduct their own affairs anymore & the other was in their nineties which meant there was a great deal of pressure on time in case she became incapacitated or died & couldn't testify. We also had problems with the bank who weren't keen to hand over us money to pay inheritance tax instead of a solicitor. Fortunately it was alright in the end, but potentially any mistake could have been very expensive to rectify.

AnthonyBlanche Fri 29-Jan-16 23:49:03

I agree it will be a lot less stressful and time consuming if you pay solicitors to deal with everything. I suppose it depends how much time you / your sister will be prepared to spend to save about £1000 each. Personally I'd probably spend the money, but if your sister is so keen not to get her to do most of it.

ratspeaker Sat 30-Jan-16 20:59:04

I did my mums estate myself a few years back. She died intestate
It was quite stressfull but it is do able.

If it is a small estate things are much simpler ( I think thats currently under £36,000).
The commisary at the Sheriff court should help with it.

If large estate it gets a wee bit more complicated.
I dont think the Sheriff Commisary can help as much. But I did it without a solicitor.
At the time mums estate was classed as large.
First thing I had to do was to get appointed executrix dative by the Sherif Court. Basically you apply in writing using a certain wording, pay the fee, they display it in public ( notice board in their office)
Once you are a named executrix dative you have the go ahead to talk to banks, insurance etc and claim any monies owed to the estate.
HMRC involved phoning them asking if any income tax was outstanding and letting them know no inheritance tax was due.
And DWP
Both want to see the death certificate.

For Confirmation you then fill in more paperwork for Sheriff court, listing assetts and debts therefore the total of the estate , thats the Inventory. Another fee is paid.
Word of warning you may have to take out a bond of Caution ( kay shun ) if you are not the spouse of the deceased, which you aren't
Its a sort of insurance policy (it was couple of hundred pounds)
www.zurich.co.uk/internet/home/sitecollectiondocuments/business/surety/executryguidancenotesleafletmay2013.pdf

You eventually get sent the Confirmation letter and can go ahead and disperse the estate.
It all takes longer than you think though.
I may have some of the paperwork around . PM me if you want.

ratspeaker Sat 30-Jan-16 21:04:29

Actually I had to fill in a form for HMRC I now recall

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