The loss of a loved one is an extremely difficult time for those close to the individual who has passed away. Dealing with the deceased’s estate can also be challenging if they own certain assets such as property or large sums of money. It may be the case that you have experienced banks or investment companies insisting on sight of Confirmation prior to releasing any sums due to the beneficiaries of the estate. More often than not, Confirmation will be required and the transfer of such assets can be completed. So, what is Confirmation?
What is Confirmation?
Confirmation is the legal document authorising an executor to administer the estate of a deceased individual. Confirmation is granted by the Sheriff Court once it has been established that inheritance tax, if any, has been paid. The application must include the last Will of the deceased.
Intestate Confirmation, or, when there’s no Will
If there was no Will, an executor will have to be appointed prior to Confirmation being granted. It may also be required to obtain a Bond of Caution, which is an insurance policy to protect the executor against the wrongful distribution of an estate.
What is included in the application for Confirmation?
The process to obtain Confirmation will depend on the value of the deceased’s estate. Irrespective of whether any inheritance tax is due on the estate, a full inventory of everything owned by that person must be collated. The inventory must contain date of valuations of all assets and be a snapshot of everything that person owned on the date they passed away. At this point the estate’s size, be it a large or small estate, can be determined.
Once an inventory is compiled, the executor is required to sign and approve the necessary HMRC forms prior to submission to the Sheriff Court, or HMRC initially if inheritance tax is due.
Do I need to use a solicitor to obtain Confirmation?
Whilst it is not always strictly required to instruct the services of a solicitor to obtain Confirmation, it is highly recommended as the process can be intricate and tricky. Dependent on the value of the estate, Sheriff Clerks may be willing to assist executors with the Confirmation process, but this is not always guaranteed. The courts advise using a solicitor to deal with Intestate estates, especially larger ones.
In Small Estates
If the total sum of a deceased estate is less than or equal to £36,000, Sheriff Clerk’s can assist you, by appointment, in formulating the inventory necessary to obtain said confirmation. However, the process can still be daunting for some. Should you need more hands-on guidance, Friends Legal can provide you with advice and paperwork assistance in dealing with small estates through our Helping Hand service, which is only £250 for the support of a qualified solicitor.
In Large Estates
In larger estates, those over the £36,000 threshold, the courts actively recommend you seek legal advice. Again, whilst only a recommendation, it is important that the application is handled by experts to provide peace of mind to executors and ensure beneficiaries receive their inheritance without undue delay.
What Happens after I get Confirmation?
Once confirmation has been granted, the belongings of the deceased can be ‘released’, and the executor can begin distributing them in accordance with the wishes laid out in the Will, as well as all relevant laws.
At this point, administration work begins, such as paying off debts, dealing with beneficiaries and sorting inheritance tax – if that is also required. The steps at this stage can also be complex, which is why we offer a Full Estate Administration service (which also includes acquiring confirmation) to take the potential stress away. Our solicitors can handle every aspect, allowing you to concentrate on your family, friends, and – importantly – yourself.
Talk to us about Afterlife Legal Services if you need help.
If you are dealing with an individual’s estate and struggling with obtaining Confirmation, our experts are on hand to assist you with the process and answer any questions you may have.
At Friends Legal, we offer transparent, fixed-fee prices for our Afterlife services and are on hand to guide you through the procedure to administer an individual’s estate. Contact us on 0333 3580 583 to speak to our By Your Side team today.