15. Death of the Shared Equity Owner(s)
Death of shared Equity Owner - Spouse surviving/ Partner
The death of a sharing owner will trigger a "payment event" in terms of the applicable shared equity agreement which requires repayment of Scottish Ministers' equity stake, unless that person has a spouse or civil partner (both referred to in this section as the "Spouse") and either (1) the Spouse is already a party to the existing shared equity arrangements or (2) the Spouse assumes the obligations of the deceased owner within 6 months of the transfer of the property to them. The surviving Spouse should exhibit a copy of the death certificate to the RSL and records should be updated to avoid any unnecessary correspondence being sent to the deceased's family or the Spouse.
It should be noted that it is not for Scottish Government or its agents to determine who is entitled to succeed to the deceased property. This will be decided by the laws of succession which apply in Scotland. A link to a guide to Scottish Succession is attached here ( http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2005/12/05115128/51285) and RSLs should consider passing this to the bereaved family if further information is requested. Generally speaking a certificate of confirmation will required to be obtained in relation to the deceased's estate, including the property. This will normally be obtained by solicitors acting in the administration of the deceased's estate.
If the RSL is contacted by the deceased's family or the Spouse or a solicitor, an email in terms of Annex 10A should be issued.
Agents should also note that if the surviving Spouse does not assume the obligations of the deceased shared equity owner within six months of the property being transferred to them (by signing a new shared equity agreement) then this will trigger a payment event, in which event the surviving Spouse or the deceased's estate will require to repay the relevant shared equity amount to Scottish Government.
For the purposes of shared equity agreements, "Spouse" is defined widely to include co-habitants, civil partners and same-sex marriages.
Death of Shared Equity Owner - No surviving Spouse / Partner
In the event that there is no surviving Spouse then the death of the shared equity owner is deemed to be a "payment event". In these instances the RSL should issue an email in terms of Annex 10B to the solicitor who will be acting in the administration of the deceased's estate.
Those solicitors will normally require to obtain a formal valuation of the property for the purposes of obtaining a certificate of confirmation and to appoint executors to the estate. Provided that the valuation report is in terms which can be relied upon by Scottish Ministers, the valuation can be used to calculate the value of Scottish Ministers' equity stake and the amount to be repaid to Scottish Ministers. The normal procedures can then be followed by Scottish Ministers' solicitors and the solicitors acting in the administration of the estate, to arrange for the delivery of a discharge of Scottish Ministers' standard security in exchange for payment of the sums due to Scottish Ministers.
Alternatively, if the executors to the deceased's estate decide to sell the property then the normal procedures should be followed in relation to a sale, to discharge Scottish Ministers' standard security and to arrange repayment of Scottish Ministers' equity stake, with the realised sale price determining the amount payable to Scottish Government.