No and indeed many family may not want the terms of a Will to be divulged before funeral arrangements have taken place. That said, it is often prudent to check on a Will for any specific funeral instructions before it is too late. Where a Will is held by Solicitors they will usually be able to advise Executors and family on any specific funeral arrangements.
In Scotland a death should be registered within eight days of the date of death. Deaths will often be registered by family members although there is no strict rule of law on this. Generally the person registering should have sufficient knowledge about the person whose death is to be registered.
Intestacy occurs when a party passes away either without having made a Will or having made a Will which, for some reason, is invalid or ineffective.
As a starting point ask any Solicitor they may have had dealings with or check with their bank. A Solicitor can advise on the options available where a Will may have been lost or destroyed.
An Executor is a person or persons appointed in terms of a Will to administer the estate. In Scotland there are few restrictions on who may be appointed as an Executor and there is no rule against Executors also being beneficiaries in an estate.
Currently estates in Scotland with a total gross value of less than £36,000 are classed as small estates. There are special rules relating to small estates and where the administration procedure is generally more straightforward.
Inheritance Tax is generally payable on an individual estate exceeding £325,000. The threshold is subject to review from time to time. There are complex rules on when Inheritance Tax should be paid and this can often be before final distribution of an estate. It is preferable to take specialist legal advice on how to settle any Inheritance Tax liability.