Scottish Trust with deceased parents/trustees

A policy was taken out on the life of a minor and placed in an absolute trust. The beneficiary is the life assured. The trustees were the life assured’s parents, both have now died.

In England the executor of the last trustee to die can step in and appoint a new trustee or assign the policy to the beneficiary and we have a deed to do this. But I note that in Scotland the executor would have to get a separate grant of confirmation for the deceased’s estate and another one for the trust in order for him act with regards to the trust. Or he would need to ask the Court to appoint a new trustee.

The executor appointed in the will is the life assured/beneficiary. Confirmation is not being obtained as the deceased’s estate was used to pay care home fees and there is nothing left. The policy only has a surrender value of £19,000 and the life assured/beneficiary wishes to surrender it.

Is there any way that we could either transfer ownership to the life assured/beneficiary or let him surrender the policy, without him having to go to Court or obtain a grant of confirmation?

Francesca Gandolfi
Canada Life


The executor of the last surviving trustee could deal with this, but there is no need for a separate grant of confirmation. If the executors had been applying for confirmation anyway, then the details of the policy would be appended to the confirmation inventory as “Estate held in trust”. This is in terms of section 6 of the Executors (Scotland) Act 1900. Upon confirmation being granted, the executor could then deal with the policy.

I note that the executors were not planning to obtain confirmation, although this would be a relatively straightforward way of dealing with the policy.

An alternative is for new trustees to be appointed in terms of section 22 of the Trust (Scotland) Act 1921.

A further alternative is for the beneficiary (or his/her guardian) to apply to the court to procure title, under section 24 of the 1921 Act.

However, the method I would recommend, at least in the first instance, is to write to the life company providing all the relevant information, and asking them to take a pragmatic view of the matter, to be the proceeds to the beneficiary or his or her guardian.

Dale Ross
Blackadders LLP