What is Probate?
Probate is essentially the procedure where people handle a deceased individual’s estate (assets and liabilities) and ensure the assets are given to the correct people. While there are many different tasks to complete throughout the process when someone dies and it can sometimes be complex, you will be advised and guided step by step by your solicitor.
Your convenience is important to us and we aim to minimise the amount of time you have to spend on the process. We offer video calls to save you from travelling to meet us and you can meet us at times convenient to you. When documents or need to be signed we can come to meet you at your home.
When a person dies, everything that they owned (except assets where ownership ceases on death or passes automatically) is referred to as the deceased’s estate. After payment of debts and taxes, the estate is divided among the beneficiaries in accordance with the deceased’s Will or if there is no Will, among the closest relatives under intestacy rules.
Where there is a Will, a Grant of Representation allows those named on the grant to deal with their assets. Executors are the persons named in the Will to deal with the estate. A grant of administration is needed to dispense the deceased person’s estate where the deceased has not left a Will. The person who deals with it in this instance is called an Administrator. Estates with a value of €25,000 or under can be administered without the need for either a grant of probate or grant of administration. Where there is a foreign language will, it is necessary to obtain a Probate Officer’s order before lodging the application for a grant of representation.
The personal representative(s) should make decisions in consultation with the beneficiaries. The law allows one year from the date of death for a personal representative to distribute assets to beneficiaries but the time it actually takes to bring matters to finalisation depends on the circumstances of each individual case. Usually, it will be three to six months before a grant of representation issues but it can take even longer. It is essential to identify from the outset any legal issues which may need to be dealt with as these can result in a personal representative being held personally liable. Your solicitor will advise you on the steps to be taken.
One of the best things I experienced was the personal touch. It can be daunting dealing with solicitors and I never felt like a hindrance. Gary was always available on the phone and email for me and always responded very quickly. I know of an elderly person dealing with Gary who really appreciated being able to meet face to face in a place where she felt comfortable. I think both types of meetings are great as clients have various needs which were met very easily in the way SOS operates.
Friendly, easy to talk to, professional support from start to finish. The service was exceptional, communication was timely and never overbearing. Everything was explained clearly along with expected timelines for completion. The team went above and beyond to sort out any issues that may have arisen during the process. Overall, very satisfied with the service.
What we found best was the professionalism of the service overall, the confidentiality, empathy and understanding. Communication was always clear in both e-mail and in person. Response times to e-mails, and meetings, was very good. I believe your fees are very competitive, and good value for your service.
It is important to note that various taxes may arise when administering an estate. Capital Acquisitions Tax applies to beneficiaries of the estate. Usually, each beneficiary has a tax-free allowance and they will only be liable for tax on any gifts or inheritances received over this amount. Probate Tax is only relevant in very limited circumstances. Income Tax returns would have to be prepared to the date of death and any taxes paid.
Also, if the estate generated an income after the time of death and before the date of the distribution of the estate, the estate will have to make income tax returns and pay any income tax due. If the only estate assets are bank accounts, Deposit Interest Retention Tax will be deducted from any income from interest on the account and an income tax return will not be required.
If there is a non-cash asset in the estate which is sold during the administration and the asset has increased in value from the date of death to date of sale, then a Capital Gains Tax return may be needed. In the event that there are beneficiaries who are not resident in Ireland, Irish resident personal representatives are responsible for the payment and filing requirements of the non-resident beneficiaries and should retain enough funds from the benefit of the non-resident beneficiary to pay the inheritance tax due.
Probate law can be complex and there are a number of potential exceptions that could alter or disrupt the typical flow of the legal process. The executor needs to be aware of these and work with a specialist probate solicitor to find a way around them. Solicitors who specialise in Probate are members of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) which is a worldwide organisation for solicitors with recognised qualifications to specialise in the area of probate and estate administration.
Probate and Estate Administration Solicitors
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