HM Insights

How has lockdown affected applying for Confirmation – can you apply online?

Summary: Although the signing and lodging of many court and tribunal documents can now be done electronically, commissary documents (including applications for Confirmation and petitions for the appointment of Executors) are excluded. It is understood that the courts are considering what other processes might be put in place to enable certain commissary applications to be lodged and processed, including by electronic means, so we will just have to wait and see if provisions similar to those brought into force in England & Wales, will ultimately be replicated North of the border…

Harper-Macleod-legal-updates-for-individuals-and-families-FB-violet.png

How has lockdown affected applying for Confirmation?

The restrictions brought into place during the course of this year have affected many areas of our lives – including many aspects of administering a deceased person's estate.

Many new practices have been put in place in relation to executry administration – for example, deaths can now be registered remotely (you'll find details of the process here). You may have also read recent reports of probate applications being moved online - however, this is only relevant south of the border.

What is changing with regards to applying for Probate?

From 2 November, practitioners in England and Wales will have to use an online service for almost all Probate applications. The online service, developed by HM Courts and Tribunals Services, was made available to all practitioners in England and Wales in October of last year, and in August plans were announced to make it mandatory for professional use. It was said that the change would save £20 million over the next ten years by closing most of the district probate registries. The list of exceptions for the new rules has not yet been finalised, but according to the Ministry of Justice the reforms should see around three quarters of professional user applications move online – according to latest figures, around one-third of applications are currently made digitally.

What does this mean in Scotland?

In Scotland, our equivalent of Probate is known as Confirmation. Confirmation, like Probate, is the document provided by the court which gives the Executor(s) the authority to deal with the estate - it is essentially the key which unlocks access to the assets held.

At the start of lockdown the position with regard to obtaining Confirmation was unclear and courts were for some time closed to this sort of business. However, as of 1 May applications started being processed again. Further details on the current procedure can be found here

Although the signing and lodging of many court and tribunal documents can now be done electronically, commissary documents (including applications for Confirmation and petitions for the appointment of Executors) are excluded. It is understood that the courts are considering what other processes might be put in place to enable certain commissary applications to be lodged and processed, including by electronic means, so we will just have to wait and see if provisions similar to those brought into force in England & Wales, will ultimately be replicated North of the border…

Harper Macleod's Private Client team can assist with all aspects of administering estates, including obtaining Confirmation

We're here to help

Should you wish to discuss, please do not hesitate to contact the Private Client team at Harper Macleod using the form below or call one of our offices on:

Glasgow: 0141 227 9344                           Inverness & Highlands: 01463 795 035

Edinburgh: 0131 247 2500                         Shetland01595 695 583 

Elgin: 01343 542623

We have solicitors and offices across the country in Glasgow (next to Glasgow Central Station), Edinburgh (next to Haymarket Station), Inverness, Thurso, Elgin and Shetland - and working from home, ready to help in person or over the phone or on a zoom call. 

We can provide the assistance you need to protect your assets and your loved ones. This will allow you to put your mind at ease, knowing everything is in hand.

Useful Links

MAKING A WILL IN SCOTLAND

POWER OF ATTORNEY IN SCOTLAND