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How To Claim Bona Vacantia in Scotland

How To Claim Bona Vacantia in Scotland


Claiming inheritance from the estate of an unknown deceased family member can be a daunting and problematic task, but also one that can positively impact your life. Because of the many legal procedures put in place to protect the property of the deceased from theft or fraud, we have put together a guide to help guide you when claiming your inheritance.

Are You An Entitled Relative?

If you think you are the legal benefactor to a deceased relative’s unclaimed estate, we recommend reviewing the official Bona Vacantia List for Scotland. If you manage to find the relative you are looking for there, we can start to build your case. If you are still unsure, get in touch for further advice, or learn more about who is entitled to unclaimed inheritance.

Build Your Case

The next step to claiming the assets in question is to build your case. You must ensure you have a strong case for you as the benefactor of the inheritance before you approach any authoritative bodies, as to do otherwise could greatly detriment your attempts to make a claim to the inheritance. Make sure you (or a representative party) research your familial links to the deceased and whether or not any other unknown relatives may be possible benefactors to the inheritance as well. For further help proving your eligibility as the heir to an estate, let our team know.

Apply For Eligibility

When a person dies without leaving a will in Scotland, the Bona Vacantia is taken into the custody of QLTR, or The Office of Queen’s and Lord Treasurer’s Remembrancer until a claim is made against it. However, you can’t just approach the QLTR straight away, first, you have to contact the Commissary Department of the Sheriff Court for the region that the deceased lived. If the Commissary Department deems your case a strong one, they will appoint you as the Executor Dative, which is the sole administrator of the deceased's estate. You will then be given a Confirmation Document which will state the name of the Executor Dative of the estate in question.

Claim Your Entitlement

When you have been appointed as the Executor Dative for the estate, you will then need to approach QLTR and state you have a Confirmation Document for the estate in question, and QLTR will then organise the transition of the estate into your possession.

We recommend seeking expert advice before proceeding with your case to ensure it is handled as delicately and effectively as possible. Get in touch with us today for guidance.