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Wills ^& Probate

FAQ

Welcome to our FAQ page where you will find some frequently asked questions about probate and administration.

We hope you find the questions and answers provided below of assistance to you. if you require further information or you have a particular query, please do not hesitate to contact us.

What is Probate/Grant of Probate?

When a deceased person has made a Will, the legal process which allows the assets to be distributed is called Probate. The person(s) appointed in the will to ensure that the deceased person wishes as set out in their will are carried out is called an executor(s). The executor(s) is the person who applies for the Grant of Probate.

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What is Administration/Grant of Administration?

When a deceased person has made no Will, the legal process which allows the assets to be distributed is called Administration. Where the deceased has made no will they are said to have died ‘intestate’. If you die intestate, this means your assets, are distributed in accordance with the law. The person (s) who administers your estate is called an administrator.

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What are the Benefits of CONTACTING BROWNE & MURPHY SOLICITORS?

We provide a specialist probate service with over 10 years experience. Our role is to make your job as Executor/Administrator easier. We will guide you through the process. Our role includes preparing all the legal documents for the probate office and revenue and dealing with beneficiaries, financial institutions and government departments. We help protect Executor/Administrators from onerous legal duties the law imposes on them personally. Our fee structure is very competitive.

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I have been appointed an executor in a will what do I do now?

In our wills section of our website we set out in detail the duties of an executor. If you are appointed an executor of a Will contact out office and we can go through the process of what steps you need to take as executor.

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I have been appointed an executor but I do not want to proceed?

If you have been appointed as an executor appointed under a Will you are  not bound to act as an executor. You have three options if you are appointed an executor in a will:

  1. Accept: accept the role as executor and administrator the estate.
  2. Reserve: reserve your rights to act as the executor. This means that you will not proceed as executor initially but that you can at a later stage get involved in administrating the estate  and take out the Grant of Probate. This only applies where there is more that one executor appointed in a will. If you are the sole executor appointed under a will you cannot reserve your rights without applying for a court order.
  3. Renounce: you can renounce your right to act as executor. It is important to note here that if you renounce your rights you cannot at a later stage get involved in administrating the estate. In this situation if you are renouncing  your rights you will sign a renunciation documents. You can only renounce if you haven’t intermeddled in the deceased’s persons estate. Otherwise a court order will be required. So if you are unsure as whether you want to take on the role, contact us and we can discuss the matter in further detail.

In relation to options 2 and 3 above, once the Grant of Probate has been extracted you must proceed to administrate the estate as you will not longer have the option to reserve or renounce.

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What are the first steps I should take as executor?

The first steps as executor is as follows:

1. The duty of an executor is in relation to the funeral. The executor should take into account the wishes of the deceased as to how they wish to be buried. In practice this is generally arranged by the family.

2. Register the death: you will need ensure that the death is registered. This process involves a family member or doctor attending the registrar of deaths, births and marriages with a medical certificate and registering the death.

3. Ascertain the assets and debts of the deceased person. Ensure that all property is insured and that the insurance company has been notified of the death. When all enquiries have been made (and these can be numerous and complex) a schedule or list of all the assets and liabilities of the deceased must be prepared. This is an official document known as an Inland Revenue Affidavit and has to be to sworn by the executor along with several other relevant documents and declarations which are lodged in the probate office and the  Grant of Probate subsequently issues. The executor on receipt of the grant will then be in a position to gather in the assets of the estate and distribute the estate by paying the debts and distributing the estate in accordance with the will.

Above is just a short summary, no two estates are the same , therefore for further information please do not hesitate to contact us.

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A relative has passed away and has not left a will?

If you are sure that the relative has made no will , then the relative is said to have died ‘intestate’. If you die intestate, this means
your estate, is distributed in accordance with the law (if you are in doubt as to whatever or not the relative made a will contact our office and we can discuss the matter in further detail). Click on this link What Happens if you die without a Will to see who is entitled to benefit.

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A relative has passed away and did make a will but I am unable to locate it?

Gather as much information as you have available and contact our office to discuss matters. As we will contact locals solicitors on your behalf and put an add in the Law Gazette to assist in ascertaining if there is a will

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I have received a gift of money in a will, how do I know if I have to pay inheritance tax?

We have dealt with the area of Inheritance Tax in detail in this website.

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Are donations to charities tax free?

There may be other exemptions available such as the charitable exemption: donations or bequests to charities are usually tax free provided the charity has obtained ‘charitable status’ from the Revenue.

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How long does it take to obtain A Grant of Probate?

The law allows one year from the date of death for a personal representative to administer an estate, this is called “the Executor’s Year”.

However , the amount of time required to administer an estate  depends on a number of circumstances such as:

  • the size of the estate and the type of assets
  • whether the estate is solvent or insolvent
  • the tax affairs of the deceased,
  • any challenges to the estate or difficulties that arise in relation to ownership of assets

No two Estates are the same, it will usually take upwards of three to six months to obtain a grant of probate but it can take longer in particular if there are any challenges to the estate.

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How much does probate cost?

The probate process itself can be extremely costly. Many solicitor firms charge a fee depending on the size and value of the estate. Contact our offices today and we will quote you a competitive fixed fee for extracting a Grant of Probate.

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What is an inquest?

An inquest is an inquiry in public by a coroner, (sitting with or without a jury), into the circumstances surrounding a death of a person where the death is due to unnatural causes.

The purpose of the inquest is to establish the cause of death, the date and place of death and establish the identity of the deceased and to place these facts on the record. The family of the deceased will be informed of the date and place of the inquest.

While it is held in public, sometimes a jury is present and witnesses can be called, it may have the appearance of court but questions of civil or criminal liability are not investigated it is not the purposes of the inquest.

An inquest can be a very difficult time for a family of which the corner is aware and every attempt is made by the corner to ensure that inquest proceedings are not unduly intrusive on families. Same family members will find it difficult to hear all evidence given at an Inquest in particular the details of the post- mortem examination.

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When is an Inquest necessary?

Whether or not an inquest is necessary is a matter for the coroner. Certain deaths must be reported to the Coroner such as the following:

  • Where the deceased was not attended by a doctor during the last illness;
  • Where the deceased was not seen and treated by a doctor within one month prior to the date of death;
  • Where the death was sudden and unexpected;
  • Where the death may have resulted from an accident, suicide or homicide;
  • Where the cause of death is unknown
  • Where a death may have resulted from an accident, suicide or homicide;
  • Where a death occurred in suspicious circumstances;
  • Where there is an unexpected or unexplained death
  • Where a dead body is found;
  • Sudden infant deaths;
  • Certain stillbirths;
  • The death of a child in care;

Deaths that occur in hospitals such as:

  • Where the death may have resulted from an accident, suicide or homicide;
  • Where any question of negligence or misadventure arises in relation to the treatment of the deceased;
  • Where a patient dies before a diagnosis is made and the general practitioner is also unable to certify the cause;
  • When the death occurred whilst a patient was undergoing an operation or was under the effect of an anaesthetic;
  • Where the death occurred during or as a result of any invasive procedure;
  • Where the death resulted from any industrial disease;
  • Where a death was due to neglect or lack of care (including self neglect);
  • Where the death occurred in a mental hospital.

An inquest must be held by law when death is (or may be) due to unnatural causes.

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Will an Inquest delay a funeral being held?

No, where an inquest is to be held, the coroner is usually able to allow burial or cremation once the post-mortem examination of the body has been completed.

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When is a jury present at an Inquest?

When a jury is present it is no longer the Coroner that gives a verdict it is the jury. A jury is required when:

  • death may be due to homicide or the circumstance surrounding the death are suspicious;
  • where the death occurred in prison;
  • where death was caused by accident, poisoning or disease requiring notification to be given to a government department or inspector;
  • where death resulted from a road traffic accident;
  • where death occurred in circumstances which may be prejudicial to the health or safety of the public;
  • where the coroner considers it desirable to hold the inquest with a jury.

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Who could be called to give evidence at an Inquest?

The coroner makes this decision together with the order in which they will give their evidence. The post-mortem report will establish the medical cause of death. A person wishing to give evidence at inquest should contact the coroner’s office prior to the inquest.

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Can the report of an inquest be obtained?

Copies are available from the coroner’s office on payment of a fee.

As specialist solicitors in Probate we have the expertise to advise you in any aspect of your family, relative or friends estate.

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HAVE A QUESTION OR NEED MORE INFORMATION?

tel: 061 599 033 email: info@bmsolicitors.ie visit us: 64 O'Connell Street, Limerick Opening Hours: Monday - Friday 9.00am to 5.30pm. Saturdays by Appointment

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