Acting as an executor can be challenging. There are many things an executor needs to do in order to properly wind up an estate, with many duties and obligations with which they must comply. As a result, many people choose to appoint or instruct a solicitor to assist them with the administration of a loved one’s estate.
We answer some of the questions you may have about working with a solicitor to wind up the estate of a loved one.
Do I need to use a solicitor to wind up an estate?
You do not need to use a solicitor to wind up an estate in Scotland; however, it is recommended. Even small estates can be difficult to wind up without an understanding of the legal process and your legal duties. Common challenges you may face when winding up an estate of a loved one include:
- Gathering and valuing all of the deceased’s property, which may include hidden assets
- Obtaining Confirmation and, in particular, completing the Application forms which require to be submitted to the court (and, in some cases, also HMRC) with the correct supporting documentation
- Complicated estates with many beneficiaries
- Property overseas
- A person attempting to contest the Will
- Trust matters
- Inheritance Tax matters
- Insolvent estates, or even difficulty managing the debts of an estate
This list is not exhaustive, and there are many challenges executors may face during the executry process. Instructing a solicitor can relieve some of the burdens and ensure proper administration of the estate.
Do I need to use a specialist solicitor?
When choosing a solicitor to act as an executor or assist you in winding up an estate, you should choose a law firm that specialises in executry matters. While many solicitors will have a broad understanding of executry matters, only a specialist firm will have experience of complex challenges. For example, many firms offer basic executry services, but very few are able to assist with estates with an international element or high-value estates.
Can an executor appoint a solicitor as an additional executor?
Yes, if you are an executor, you may appoint a solicitor as an additional executor to assist you. You may also resign from the role of executor after you have appointed a replacement, including a solicitor. It’s worth noting that you do not need to appoint a solicitor as an executor in order for them to help you with the administration of an estate. If you want to take care of much of the executry process yourself, you can simply instruct a solicitor to assist you with certain parts of the estate administration.
Do you need to use the solicitor that holds the deceased’s Will?
No. When choosing a solicitor to appoint as an executor, you are free to use any solicitor you wish. Of course, there may be some advantage in using the solicitor the deceased discussed their Will and estate matters with, but an experienced solicitor will be able to interpret the Will and the wishes of the person who has passed away.
Specialist Executry (Probate) Solicitors, Edinburgh
Head of the Executry Group, Andrew Paterson, has extensive experience with complex and high-value estates. Andrew is also a Partner within our Asset Protection Group. Contact Andrew today using the Enquiry Form or call on 0131 225 1200.