HMRC & Small Estates

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Small Estates

In Scotland a special procedure is followed in an estate is under £30,000 gross. The legal term for this size of estate is a small estate. For estates that exceed this value this involves, in intestate cases, a petition to the court for appointment of an ‘executor dative’. Presentation (inventory of estate and petition) is rarely made by personal application; instead it is presented by a solicitor or a licensed executing practitioner.

The staff at the Commissary Offices throughout Scotland will process small estates provided that the complications do not arise. If they are able to assist, they require full and detailed information regarding the estate and its assets. In calculating the value of the estate, debts such as funeral expenses, gas or electricity bills, hire purchase payments and any outstanding mortgage must be disregarded. The applicant must supply information to the staff at the Commissary Office, making a list and supporting this list by documentation. All the property must be included in this list, even accounts held jointly.

In addition to a list of assets, you would also have to supply a death certificate, a divorce certificate, if applicable, and a will. If there is no will, the court will appoint the closest relative in order of ‘preferred status’, namely spouse, child, brother or sister, parent.

As in England, there is no charge made by the Sheriff Clerk in giving advice or information or for completing the inventory or forms on an applicant’s behalf. Again as in England, there is a statutory fee charged whether a solicitor is used or not and this is calculated on the basis of the gross value of the estate.

For an estate of £5,000 or under no fee is charged and between £5,001 and £50,000 the fee is £81; for the estates where the gross value is £50,001 and above the fee is £114.

In all intestate cases other than a surviving spouse case you will be asked to obtain a bond of caution (type of insurance policy against any mistakes or misappropriation of the funds) from an insurance company before you are able to take in the task.

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