27 March 2020
Many organisations are now operating with only a skeleton staff, some are not open at all, and there have been changes to government services. This is a note of some key changes and what is currently being processed by the Scottish Courts Service.
Registrar for Births, Deaths and Marriages offices are now closed. You can still register a death by taking a clear and legible digital image of the form (known as the Medical cause of death) which you receive from the hospital and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org (or your local registrar) together with your phone number. A member of their team will be in touch with you. They appreciate that not everyone has a smart phone or access to a computer so a funeral director can also assist.
This process should be automated by the beginning of April meaning that the hospital will contact the registrars directly.
The court is now only open for essential business which means that applications for Confirmation (the Scottish form of probate) are not being processed. Currently we are still able to send these to the court and they are being ‘date stamped’ as they arrive and will be attended to once the court resumes this service.
All hearings, other than urgent applications, under the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000 have been postponed.
The office is open but is only working on urgent matters prioritising the work which they are able to do as follows:-
If a power of attorney is required to be registered as a matter of urgency, the request must be justified in an email to the OPG. For example, if the granter is in hospital and powers are required for attorneys to act immediately to allow welfare/ medical decisions to be taken.
The OPG will not currently accept as being urgent the requirement for an attorney to access a bank account. In such cases, a proposed attorney could operate a bank account with use of a 3rd party mandate signed by the adult/ granter.
The OPG is continuing to process new applications for intervention orders and guardianship orders, along with any urgent court orders.
They will also process any urgent inventories of estate, management plans and applications for consent in relation to heritable property.
For further advice on the issues raised in this article, contact Karen Phillips on Karen.Phillips@balfour-manson.co.uk or on 07850 918768.