What to do when someone dies

Key contact

Morton Fraser Partner Sue Hunter
Sue Hunter
Sue is a partner and head of our Private Client sector.  She is also the head of our Wealth Management team.
0131 247 1054

Coping with the death of a loved one is traumatic. It is often made worse by having to deal with unfamiliar legal procedures before the estate can be wound up and distributed to the intended beneficiaries. You may be appointed as executor of the estate and are suddenly faced with daunting responsibilities.


How we can help you 

Without advice, it can be difficult to know where to start. The best way to avoid legal problems arising at the time of your death is to plan properly during your lifetime. Making sure that a will is up to date and drafted properly is key to avoiding arguments later on.

However, we don't always plan properly and disputes can arise through a lack of planning or the interpretation of a poorly drafted legal document. We work with clients in all types of disputes. Whether you are a disappointed beneficiary or an executor under a disputed will, we can help.

Ranked Tier 1 by Legal 500, we have a highly experienced and highly qualified team of Executry lawyers and paralegals who concentrate solely on estate administration. This involves legal, tax, financial and international issues.

What to do when you are the Executor of a Will

We will combine warmth and compassion with clear, practical support and advice. We can research the estate for you, and make sure you comply with all of your responsibilities to the deceased person, and to the beneficiaries. We also deal with Confirmation (Probate) to ensure this is granted by the Court as quickly as possible. Ultimately we can provide as much or as little assistance as you need, from initial advice and guidance, to dealing with the whole of the administration on your behalf.

  • Helping to organise the funeral
  • Researching and administering the estate
  • Ensuring Confirmation is granted as quickly as possible
  • Negotiating with HMRC
  • Ensuring all required reporting is accurate
  • Working to minimise tax
  • Organising the division of investments among the beneficiaries
  • Distributing personal effects and house contents among beneficiaries
  • Organising house clearances
  • Selling the deceased’s house if required

What to do when someone dies in Scotland and you live overseas

In today's global society, many individuals have an international aspect to their affairs on account of where they or their families choose to live and/or where their assets are situated. Our team of experts can help ensure any tax requirements that need to be met as part of an estate wind up comply with any tax requirements and give you peace of mind.

  • Your UK tax and domicile status
  • Your exposure to UK income tax, inheritance tax and capital gains tax and your obligations to report to HM Revenue & Customs
  • How best to structure your affairs and hold your UK assets
  • Your Will and Power of Attorney. We will prepare a Scottish Will and Power of Attorney for you where that is advised, ensuring those tie in properly with any foreign Will(s) and Powers of Attorney you may have or may need to have put in place
  • The administration of your estate after death

If you are based abroad, we can consult with you via telephone or video conferencing at a time which is convenient for you.

Our experienced team acts for clients who are based all over the globe and we understand the tax and succession as well as the practical issues which apply. We aim to make the whole process straightforward and hassle free for you and your family.

Our fees

We want to provide our clients with fixed fees. That can be quite difficult to do unless we properly understand your individual circumstances, and what we need to do for you. We don't want to compromise the work we do for you or the service we deliver, by offering a headline grabbing fee quote, which we don't then deliver on. Our approach to feeing is therefore to meet with you, and to establish your objectives. The cost of this meeting, which will include a review of your assets, succession planning and your tax situation, will be £350 + VAT. The cost of this meeting will be deducted from any fee for work which follows. At this meeting, we will provide you with an estimated fee for carrying out the work, and we will not go ahead with that work unless you have approved that fee quote.

We will communicate with you in plain English and where advice is also needed in other countries, either work with your existing overseas lawyers and other advisers or we will introduce you to advisers in other jurisdictions. We will co-ordinate any foreign advice which is needed countries so you don't have to deal with different lawyers and other advisers.