The word Probate means to prove. Probate occurs when a person dies leaving a Will outlining their Testamentary wishes. The party who is responsible for the distribution of your estate is known as the Executor. An Executor will seek to obtain a Grant of Probate and also compile a schedule of assets such as property or bank accounts and pay all your debts. Once debts are paid the balance of the Estate is distributed to the beneficiaries of the Estate.
How can our Probate Solicitors help?
When engaging our Probate solicitors in order to apply for a Grant of Probate or a Grant of Administration you will be advised as to the necessary requirements. Our Probate Solicitors will look after all matters in relation to the distribution of the Estate of the deceased including contacting banks, Credit Unions, Post Offices, insurance companies and beneficiaries. Our Probate Solicitors will also complete a list of the estate assets and handle the distribution to the beneficiaries.
Our Probate Solicitors have the knowledge and experience to advise on all aspects of the administration of Estates. We will advise you on how to make what can be a stressful experience to one which is manageable. Our Probate Solicitors understand the impact and stress that these decisions may cause and are here to help you through that experience. Our Probate Solicitors will assist you with all aspects of the administration of Estates.
Our Probate Solicitors review the relevant legal documentation and move quickly to bring the process to a swift conclusion while keeping you up to date throughout. We strive to make sure your experience is stress free.
Types of Grants
Grant of Probate
In cases where parties have left a Will, the Executor has the responsibility to apply to the Probate office for a Grant of Probate. Under Irish Law the Executor must administer the Will. If the Executor is not in a position to administer the Will, then they should renounce their position and allow a suitable and correct party to take over the position as Executor. In some cases, there is more than one Executor and they may jointly apply for the Grant of Probate.
Grant of Administration
In cases where parties have not left a Will, the Administrator (which is a similar position to the Executor) has the responsibility and will apply to the Probate office for a Grant of Administration. Under Irish Law the Administrator must administer the Estate of the deceased. It is important that in a case of Administration, the administrator of the Estate is generally the nearest relative or next of Kin.
Grant of Administration with Will Annexed
A Grant of Administration with Will annexed is applied for in a limited number of cases such as:
The appointed Executor has become disabled, is of unsound mind or is a minor and accordingly does not have the capacity to carry out the duties they have charge of;
The appointed Executor is out of the Jurisdiction and unable or unwilling to carry out their duties;
The appointed Executor renounces their right to deal with the Estate;
There is no appointed Executor; or
The appointed Executor refuses to carry out their duties.
In any of the cases outlined above the beneficiaries under the Will is the person entitled to apply for a Grant of Administration with Will annexed. If the appointed Executor dies before the party who signed the Will or if there is no residue clause in the Will the distribution of the Estate will be governed by Irish Probate Law.
Estates under €25,000
In cases where an Estate is under €25,000 there is a procedure which allows the Estate to be administered without the need to apply for either a Grant of Probate or Grant of Administration. In many cases this procedure is used when there is no property and involves only funds in a Credit Union or Bank Account. In such cases the relevant bank or credit union will simply release the funds.
Rules of Intestacy
In circumstances where there is no Will the Rules of Intestacy will determine who the beneficiaries are to be. A beneficiary will be entitled to apply for a Grant of Administration.
The order as to who can inherit under Rules of Intestacy where there is no Will is as follows:
Spouse and Children/Civil Partner & Children
Brothers and Sisters
Nieces and Nephews
Uncles and Aunts
First Cousins/Great Uncles & Aunts / Great Nephews and Nieces
How long does the probate process take?
Typically, the relevant grant is received within 3-6 months from the date of receipt of all the relevant information. The timelines largely depend on the level of applications the Probate office is dealing with. Once the grant is received, certified copies are sent to the various Financial institutions so that the funds can be received and distributed. It should be noted that delays can occur where a Will is contested. Our Probate Solicitors can advise as to any likely timeframe and likely delays.
Further, it is important to note that an Executor or Administrator has 12 months to deal with the distribution of an Estate from the date of death. If an Executor or Administrator fail in this regard a potential beneficiary may apply for the relevant Grant.
The following taxes must be considered in any Probate process:
There are a number of taxes that can arise during the course of administration of an estate, such as:
Capital Gains Tax – Where an asset such as a property is sold and has increased in value between the date of death and date of sale, then Capital Gains Tax must be paid.
Income Tax – If the deceased made an income during their lifetime or since death, returns would have to be completed to the date of death and any taxes paid.
Probate Tax – This only applies to Estates where the person died between 18/06/1993 and 05/12/2000.
Capital Acquisitions Tax (CAT) – This is inheritance tax that applies to beneficiaries of the Estate. Generally, each beneficiary has a tax-free threshold which changes from time to time in the Budget.
It is imperative to note that a suitable and qualified tax advisor should be appointed to deal with all and any tax returns for the estate.
Legal Services Offered:
Assisting with Probate;
Assisting with Administration;
Lack of Capacity;
Undue Influence; and
Failure to provide for certain family members.
Our 4-stage process
A consultation with our Probate Solicitors will make sure you understand the nature of the process and the documentation involved in a Probate. We will discuss the Will and contents of the Estate, such as properties, bank accounts, shares and personal contents and the distribution of same.
Once our Probate Solicitors have all information, they will draft the Probate application and arrange an appointment for you to sign the relevant documentation. Once signed and completed we will lodge the papers in the Probate Office and advise you of the likely timelines.
Once we receive the relevant Grant of Probate or Grant of Administration from the Probate Office, we will write to each financial institution enclosing certified copies of same. We then complete the Estate Accounts detailing all aspects such as the assets, payments made and the distribution of the Estate.
The final stage is to approve the Estate Accounts confirming that all debts and expenses of the Estate will be paid and the balance distributed to the beneficiaries in accordance with the Will or Rules of Intestacy.
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