You may have heard the term ‘Bond of Caution’ and have concerns about whether you might need one to wind up the estate of a loved one. When a person passes away, executors do not automatically have the authority to distribute the assets in an estate. Instead, they must obtain Confirmation (known as Probate in many other countries) first. In certain circumstances, a Bond of Caution may be required for the Sheriff Court to grant Confirmation. In this article, we take a look at what a Bond of Caution is, what it does and when it may be necessary.
A Bond of Caution is essentially an insurance policy that protects the beneficiaries of an estate. A Bond of Caution provides protection from a person obtaining Confirmation where they are not entitled to do so and also protects against an executor failing to distribute the estate according to law.
A Bond of Caution is necessary for most estates where no executor has been appointed in the deceased’s Will - which of course includes estates where there is no Will. There are exceptions to this rule as follows:
At present, there are only a very small number of providers who are authorised to provide Bonds of Caution. The insurance company will generally only provide a Bond of Caution if a firm of solicitors is appointed to administer and wind up the estate on behalf of the Executor(s).
The cost of a Bond of Caution will depend on the value of the estate. When you consider it in a similar way to other insurance policies, you can understand the impact the value of the estate will have on the Bond of Caution premium. As a general guide, a Bond of Caution will cost anywhere from a few hundred pounds to over a thousand pounds. Your solicitor will be able to advise you on the process and the cost.
Obtaining a Bond of Caution is additional administration and cost at what is already a difficult time. You can avoid the need for your loved ones to obtain a Bond of Caution after you pass away by writing a Will and ensuring you have appointed executors who are willing to wind up your estate.
Murray Beith Murray Partner, Andrew Paterson, heads our Executry group and has assisted many families with the legal issues arising following the death of a relative. If you have any questions about the issues covered here, or if you wish to discuss any other legal matter, please complete our contact form or call us on 0131 225 1200.
At Murray Beith Murray, we're more than just lawyers - we're trusted advisors. We clearly outline the executry process, providing straightforward, practical advice and assistance. Our approach to client service is friendly and responsive, and we operate with the highest standards of integrity and professional expertise.