Frequently Asked Questions
Should I make a will?
Children under 18 years, whose parents have not made a will, stand to lose the most. Without a will, the next of kin of these children will have to make application to court to have executors and trustees appointed to administer the assets of the estate. All discretion is taken away from the family and decision making is left to bureaucracy. The cost and stress can be enormous.
A Will is not just relevant for people with substantial assets, it is relevant for all persons who have responsibilities.
In the absence of a Will control is effectively lost over the distribution of assets on death and the provisions of the Succession Act 1965 apply and the law determines who is to inherit and who is to be responsible for the administration. Unfortunately in many cases this can be quite often contrary to what the deceased person wished for and can result in the most unsuitable person assuming the role of personal representative.
How do I go about making a Will?
If you have already made your Will you should remember to up date it regularly so that it keeps pace with any legal and tax changes and of course your own personal circumstances. For further legal advice in this regard please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to be of assistance.
Death of a loved one, where to start?
We are on hand to help and guide you through the process of obtaining a Grant of Probate or Administration and we will be happy to meet with you at your convenience and explain the process involved. We can help you apply for the Death Grant and deal with the funeral expenses. We can help you make searches to see if your loved one made a Will. We can help guide you through making important decisions regarding the deceased’s property and financial affairs and personal belongings (these matters are often collectively referred to as the Deceased’s Estate.
A person who dies having made a valid Will is deemed to have died testate.
A person who dies having not made a Will is deemed to have died intestate.
A first meeting with my Solicitor regarding the probate – what should I bring?
Some useful information to bring with you to a first appointment with your solicitor would include:
- A copy of the Will or original, if available
- The Medical Certificate or Death Certificate, if available
- The Deceased’s PPS Number
- Any social welfare book held by the Deceased
- The Funeral Bill
- Any financial documents that are available
- The names and addresses of the next of kin
- Details of the Deceased’s personal circumstances for example, marriage certificate, occupation, divorce order, children’s names and ages.
Who is the personal representative?
This is the Executor or Administrator appointed under the terms of the Will or if there is no Will the provisions of the Succession Act 1965. This person or persons become responsible for administering the Estate and dealing with the affairs of the deceased person.
The Personal Representative generally instructs their solicitor to help them perform their duties including matters such as:
- Taking all reasonable steps to secure any property and any valuable assets
- Going through the Deceased’s papers
- Protecting the assets of the Estate
- Making sure there is insurance for any items that should be insured
- Identifying what is in the Estate
- Ascertaining what debts and expenses have to be paid
- Dealing with the tax liabilities of the Estate.
The Personal Representative is generally the person who extracts the Grant of Probate or Grant of Administration to the Estate. In limited circumstances, it may be possible, to administer the Estate without extracting a Grant.
What is the Grant?
If the Estate is Intestate or the Will was partly or totally invalid a Grant of Administration is extracted. There are various forms of Grant of Administration
What is the Grant of Probate?
How long does it take to obtain the Grant of Probate?
The law allows for a time of one year from the date of death for a personal representative and this is often referred to as “the Executor’s Year”.
The time however very much depends upon the circumstances of each individual Estate for example these factors can include:
- the type of assets that are involved and the decisions that are being made as to how to deal with them,
- the tax affairs of the deceased,
- the solvency of the deceased,
- the liabilities of the Estate
- the size of the Estate,
- the number of beneficiaries and the availability of PPS numbers
- whether the beneficiaries have received previous inheritances and gifts that now requires specialized tax advices
- the speed of outside agencies for example banks, valuers etc.
- whether the Estate is testate or intestate
- any difficulties identifying if a will was made or not or its validity
- any challenges to the Estate.
It will usually take upwards of three to six months before a grant of representation but it can take considerably longer if difficulties are encountered.
I want to contest the Will – What do I do?
Wills have very strict execution requirements and the validity of the Will can be challenged.
Will challenges are complex and intricate areas of law. Our Firm has dealt with a wide array of legal challenges in large Estates running to several million euro and in every day estates. We can advise you on your legal rights, assist and mediate in a dispute, and our expert solicitors can litigate on your behalf in the Courts if necessary. For further information please telephone us or email us for an appointment and we will be happy to advise you on your personal situation.
What is an Inquest?
An Inquest is an enquiry in public held in connection with the circumstances surrounding a death. An Inquest must be held by law, where the death might be deemed to be due to unnatural causes.
The purpose of the Inquest is to establish and publicly record the facts surrounding the death. A Coroner presides and the Inquest can sit with or without a jury. The Inquest can deliver a range of verdicts such as accidental death, misadventure, open verdict, suicide, to name but a few.
Certain persons are entitled to be legally represented at Inquests, although this is not mandatory by law. This is however a distressing time for families and our expert legal team can help you deal with this process and advise you of the process in a confidential and sensitive manner. We can assist you during this traumatic time and we have provided representation to families in cases where there has been medical negligence, misadventure, or an accident, and we can assist you through the Inquest process and advise you on any further legal action as may be appropriate.
Wills and Probate legal fees
At Carmody Moran we know that you need an excellent service with the best legal advice for making a will and planning for the future. We also know that you want no hidden charges or surprises. Like with all of our services we will estimate to you the costs involved at the outset and put our charges to you in writing. By way of a rough indication some guideline prices are below but please contact us directly for a tailored estimate and individual quotation.
- Wills Fees: Average Will prices are €100 – €200 plus VAT @ 23%
- Probate Fees: These are calculated based on the type and complexity of the estate and traditional probate fees are 3% of the value of the estate. In situations where the matter is very straightforward e.g where a surviving spouse is the sole beneficiary and there is a relatively small estate, we will usually charge below the above scale.
We are always happy to meet with you for an initial free consultation to assess the amount of work involved and the amount that it will cost. We are better placed to give you an accurate fixed price having met with you and reviewed the situation after which we can furnish you with some initial advice and a written fees estimate for consideration.
GLOSSARY OF TERMS
Testate – A person who dies having made a valid Will is deemed to have died testate.
Intestate – A person who dies having not made a Will is deemed to have died intestate.
Will – A legal document that has very strict execution requirements to be valid and deals with the deceased’s wishes for his or her assets and responsibilities after their death, subject to certain rights of spouses and children.
Estate – Everything owned by a deceased person is referred to as their legal Estate. After payment of debts and taxes the Estate is divided amongst beneficiaries. If there is a Will the distribution will be in accordance with the Will. If there is no Will the distribution will take effect in accordance with the rules as set out in law in the Succession Act 1965.
Inquest – a public enquiry held in connection with the circumstances surrounding a death where that death has been because of unnatural causes.
Your Expert Team
At Carmody Moran Solicitors our experienced personal injury lawyers are on hand to advise and skilled in handling all nature of accident claims.
The two partners of Carmody Moran solicitors have a combined total of in excess of twenty five years professional legal experience. Together with their associates they aim to make the Court process as straight forward and navigable as possible while being on hand to alleviate their clients concerns and worries about going through the Court process.
He has significant experience in personal injury cases and general litigation having handled literally thousands of cases on behalf of clients based in Ireland and abroad.
Niamh Moran is one of the founding partners of Carmody Moran Solicitors and is a solicitor with wide ranging experience across all areas of general practice.
Niamh manages the family law, conveyancing and probate divisions of the practice. Niamh’s practice of law is extremely varied and she is regularly sought out for her expertise by clients and colleagues alike.
You should note that no solicitor/client relationship or duty of care or liability of any nature shall exist or be deemed to exist between Carmody Moran Solicitors and you until you have received a written letter of engagement from us in which we confirm our appointment as your Solicitors.