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Executry (Probate) Lawyers in Aberdeen, Scotland

This guide to executry in Scotland is designed to offer some insight into what is involved in the executry process and the responsibilities of executors. However, it should be borne in mind that how a loved one’s affairs are brought to a close largely depends on the particular circumstances and what they have left behind.

Executry can be a very difficult process, particularly for those also coming to terms with their loss and managing the stress of bereavement. At andersonbain, our experienced and approachable executry solicitors in Aberdeen and Edinburgh can help. If you have been appointed an executor and are looking for help fulfilling your duties, please get in touch with our executry specialists.

What is executry?

Executry is the Scots law term for describing a deceased’s estate once it has been passed to the deceased’s representative (the executor) for distribution. The executor is responsible for gathering together the assets of the estate (properties and possessions), dealing with all the necessary paperwork and making sure all of the affairs of the deceased are settled. This administration often includes paying off all debts, taxes (including inheritance tax), funeral expenses and other administration costs out of the estate, and then distributing the assets of the estates according to the terms of a Will and the law.

Who can be an executor?

Executors are either appointed in a Will or by the Court. Where there is a Will, the deceased is likely to have appointed executors who are relatives or friends. Solicitors or accountants can also be appointed and regularly carry out executry work, either as executors themselves or on the behalf of executors.

It may be the case that more than one executor has been appointed in a Will (with the norm being two) so that the responsibility of administering the estate can be shared – particularly if there is a large estate. An odd number of executors may also have been appointed so as to break deadlocks in estate decisions.

Should an estate have no nominated executors then the Court will appoint one. A Court appointed executor is called an executor dative, and will usually be someone who is entitled to inherit (also known as a beneficiary). To be appointed as an executor dative (if there is no Will or the chosen executors in the Will have died or are unable to carry out the role), the applicant requires to petition the Sheriff Court in which the deceased lived and this process is best dealt with by specialised Executry solicitors such as andersonbain. Once a Court appoints an executor dative, they are unable to resign or take on other executors without express permission from the court.

What do executors do?

Amongst other things, executors are expected to:

  • Assume responsibility for handling and safeguarding the property of the estate of the deceased person until it is distributed
  • Make a list of all the property that belonged to the person who died, collectively known as the estate and apply for Confirmation
  • In-gather all of the deceased’s assets that are held by other organisations such as banks, insurance companies or building societies
  • Pay all outstanding debts and taxes out of the estate, including any inheritance tax that is due
  • Distribute the estate to the parties who are entitled under the Will or the law

In the performance of their duties, an executor may claim reasonable expenses from the estate, although they are not entitled to a fee for carrying out the role of executor unless the Will says so. The executor is liable for the deceased’s estate as the deceased was liable for it in life, but their personal liability is usually limited to the value of the estate.

What are an executor’s main responsibilities?

The responsibilities of an executor include taking an inventory of the deceased’s possessions and debts, collecting the assets, paying the debts and taxes (in particular, inheritance tax) and distributing the legacies (personal items specifically detailed to be given to someone in the will, subject to the payment of legal rights) and following the deceased’s wishes as closely as possible.

The executor is legally responsible if any mistakes are made. It is, therefore, important for an executor to keep clear records of all work done, so that if any issues arise, such as a dispute over a Will or failure to comply with the correct procedures, they can be resolved as swiftly as possible.

Does an executor need a lawyer?

While there is no mandatory requirement for an executor to get legal assistance, we would suggest that it would be an onerous task for a layman to undertake as it can be a complex, demanding and time-consuming process particularly where Inheritance Tax is payable. A solicitor will also be able to help an executor be aware of and insure they meet their legal responsibilities and can advise on what to do if a dispute arises. Where an executor decides that they would benefit from help from a lawyer, they can claim the legal fees reasonably incurred from the deceased’s estate.

Experienced Executry Solicitors in Aberdeen, Scotland

At andersonbain, we offer bespoke and personalised advice and assistance to executors based in Aberdeen City, Ellon, Peterhead, Fraserburgh and other surrounding areas of Aberdeen, Scotland. Our experienced executry solicitors provide a responsive and dedicated service and take pride in providing efficient and down to earth legal advice. If you have been appointed an executor and looking for help winding up an estate and fulfilling your duties, please contact the executry specialists at andersonbain or call us on 01224 456 789

Call now on 01224 456 789

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