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Probate Services

If an individual owns assets in Scotland but lives permanently outside Scotland, this can lead to complications in relation to estate and tax planning.

On the individual’s death, their Executors will have to adhere to specific rules in order to administer those Scottish assets and they will have to apply for Confirmation (also known as Probate, Letters of Administration or Grant of Representation in other countries) in Scotland.

The specific rules that will apply in each case will be determined by the value of the Scottish assets and the relationship between Scotland and the country where the deceased resided. Depending on the value of the deceased’s estate and length of time they have been living abroad, there may also be UK tax implications for the estate.

The Executors, or their professional advisers, should seek Scottish expert legal guidance at the earliest possible opportunity to ensure the Scottish assets in the estate are dealt with correctly under Scots Law.

Frequently asked questions

Here we answer some of the questions we are frequently asked about Confirmation (Probate) services in Scotland.

Whilst Probate (or its equivalent) may have already been obtained in the country where the deceased was permanently resident or domiciled, the Executors will also be required to apply to the relevant Sheriff Court in Scotland either for Confirmation or to have the foreign Probate (or equivalent) resealed/reissued.  Only once Confirmation has been obtained, will the Executors have the power to gain access to the assets, sell the assets or have the assets (for example money) released to them.

The forms used when applying for Confirmation double as a tax return to HM Revenue and Customs for assessing the Inheritance Tax or Estate Tax position.  The UK equivalent of estate duty is known as Inheritance Tax, which is payable based on the value of deceased’s estate. 

If the deceased owned a holiday home or land in Scotland and held money in a Scottish bank or held a portfolio of stocks and shares, it is probable that the Executor will have to produce evidence that they have obtained Confirmation to the assets in order to access, sell or transfer them.

The legal system in Scotland is distinct to that of Northern Ireland, England and Wales.  Only a Solicitor who is qualified in Scots Law can advise Executors in relation to the administration of a Scottish estate. If a house or land located in Scotland forms part of the deceased’s estate, the Executor will need to instruct a Scottish Solicitor in order to deal with its sale or transfer.

How can Thorntons help?

At Thorntons, our experienced Private Client team can provide expert guidance in all key aspects of estate planning relating to Scottish assets. 

The Private Client team can provide assistance relating to all stages throughout the Scottish Confirmation process including administration of the deceased’s estate and provide advice on all aspects of Inheritance Tax.

Once the Confirmation process has been completed, we can refer you to our experienced Thorntons Property Services team, who can help with all aspects of the transfer, marketing and sale of any holiday home. 

We offer personalised, specialist advice tailored to each individual client's needs. We understand that international probate situations can be complex and our experienced team will make it as easy as possible for you, providing expert solutions to legal and practical problems. 

Call the Thorntons Private Client team on 03330 430150 to find out more about our executry services and estate planning, including handling the Probate process in Scotland. Or complete our enquiry form and we will contact you.