Estate Planning Legal Terms Explained

Blanchardstown, Castleknock, Dublin City Centre

Legal Jargon

Let’s get some of the legal jargon probate solicitors use out of the way first.  In law, language is important and it must be precise and so there are some terms used in this piece which may mean nothing to you or seem confusing.  We have used these words here as otherwise it may be unclear what we are talking about.  Likewise, if you do not know what some of the words mean in law, then it may be hard to follow:

  • Will: easy one to start with; the written instructions of what to do on the death of a person (called the Testator).
  • Testator: the person who makes the will.
  • Estate: Everything that was owned by the Testator.  This is what is distributed by the Will.
  • Executor: the person named in the will who deals with the will after the Testator’s death and ensures that all debts are paid and that the beneficiaries get what they are left in the will.
  • Beneficiary: someone who has been left something in a will.
  • Gift: what someone is left in a Will.  Can also be referred to as a Bequest or a Legacy.
  • Succession Act: the main piece of law that deals with Wills.
  • Children: can be any age (the oldest we dealt with was in their 70’s) and include adopted children and in certain cases beyond this.
  • A Trust: A special way of leaving a gift to someone in a will so that the beneficiary gets the benefit of but not the ownership of a gift.
  • Trustee: someone who looks after the Trust. They are named in the Will.
  • Guardian: A person named in a Will to look after a child or an incapacitated person.
  • 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, or where the will is invalid is deemed to have died intestate.
  • The Statute The length of time a person has to do certain things or make certain challenges against a will or invoke certain rights.  The expression Statute Barred, means that you are too late to do something.  In Succession Law, these time limits can be very short, as little as 6 months.  If you need advice you should not delay as there are no extensions of time allowed.
  • Caveat: A document which is lodged in the Probate Office to stop an estate from being administered and, therefore, distributed.
  • Spouse: a husband or wife or civil partner (excludes a co-habitant).
  • Probate: the formal process for the distribution of assets (the estate) by an Executor under the terms of a will.
  • Probate Office: The official office which deals with Probate applications.

Frequently Asked Questions when considering making a Will.

Do I need a Solicitor to make a Will? Why not just make a home crafted Will?

Some people will create their own will in order to save time and legal costs. Even if the will has been drafted in accordance with the required principals, it is still open to challenge before the Court. If a testator has not taken proper legal advice, it can easily be assumed that the will is not valid. This is not necessarily true, but it can be quite costly if a challenge is brought before the Courts.

Mr. Justice Senan Allen of the High Court of Ireland stated In the Matter of the Estate of Patrick John Mannion [2021] IEHC 117, that when a will was prepared without the benefit of legal advice, the thinking was that it would save paying a Solicitor to prepare it on his behalf. However, a challenge to the High Court was very costly indeed and was ultimately paid from the estate of the testator, he stated “If in a roundabout way, Fr. Mannion’s object that Mr. Shields should administer his estate has been achieved, his object in avoiding lawyers’ fees has fairly spectacularly failed. The costs of this application must be borne by his estate.

A homemade or a generic stationary Will might seem like a great saving. It may save €300 to €500 in legal fees, depending on the complexities of the Will, however, if challenged in the High Court the costs to the Estate ultimately could cost many, many, multiples of that sum, indeed a six-figure sum is not out of the question for the cost of a High Court hearing allowing for numerous sets of legal costs between the Estate and the Will challenger, and beneficiaries. Taking expert advice in your legal life planning from highly experienced Wills and Probate Solicitors could ultimately be the best value legal advice you spend when you consider the alternative ‘bleak house’ type scenario.

The case of Mannion above, is not the only recent case that demonstrates the value in having legal expertise and input into the making of your Will.

Ms. Justice Úna Ní Raifeartaigh stated in the similar case of In the Matter of the Estate of Mary  Philomena Maureen McEnroe [2021] IECA 28 that “The appellant had no choice but to bring the application in order to get a grant and administer the estate, and the difficulty arose out of the actions of the deceased herself, not by reason of any conduct on the part of the appellant. Accordingly, we will grant the costs of the appeal and reverse the High Court decision and award the High Court costs to the appellant also, both to come from the estate in due course.”

Not getting proper legal advice ultimately cost the deceased estate a significant sum, which is clearly not what the testator intended. It is always beneficial to seek legal advice. The testator may have saved the small fee by not going to a solicitor, but ultimately cost her estate legal fees in excess of €250,000.Avoiding a small cost now can give rise to wholly unintended consequences.

Why should I make a Will?

There are many benefits to making a will/estate planning, while the consequences of not doing so can be very costly for the estate and disastrous for the survivors particularly if there are children involved.

Everyone who has assets should make a Will.A Will is particularly important if you have children, even more pressing if you are a younger parent and have young children to protect.Wills should not be viewed as a preserve of the older person.

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 an application to the 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 a personal representative. Contact our probate solicitors in Blanchardstown if more information is needed.

I made a Will many years ago, should I update it?

Just because you have made a will in the past, does not mean you cannot make another one and amend the terms as you wish. You can change your will at any time, and as often as you like. Remember, a will is about your wishes and you are entitled to change your mind.

It is especially important to update your will if your circumstances have changed. A change in circumstances could be anything from the sale of property, if you get married, have a child, the death of a family member etc. If you update your will after a change in circumstances, it is less likely to be challenged before the Courts.

Good intentions can still lead to a challenge of a will. High Court Judge, Ms. Justice Nuala Butler, discussed this on the 26th of February 2021 when she stated that

“In normal course, where a testator makes a gift in his will of a specific item of property which no longer exists or which he no longer owns at the date of his death, the gift will fail and is said to be adeemed. To determine whether a gift has been adeemed, the court must construe the terms of the will to ascertain exactly what the testator intended to leave. In particular, a court must look to the extent to which the phrasing of the gift by the testator can be taken to have contemplated a change in the form of the property the subject of the gift. Obviously, a gift that is phrased generally will be far less likely to be held to have been adeemed than one which is phrased specifically.”

This case related to a gift of shares left in a will. The shares in question no longer existed as described in the will meaning the gift was invalid. The change in the name and type of gift specified at the time when the will was made, ultimately meant the provision in the will was invalid.

A testator needs to be mindful of any change, big or small, which may alter his or her will contrary to what was intended. If you are in doubt, seek legal advice. You may not need to change the terms of your will, but it is always better to be safe than sorry. A small error could end up costing your estate thousands in Court Costs.

To proceed

If you wish to proceed, please telephone our office and we will send you a formal fee estimate and some initial information and an instruction sheet to review.

To progress, we will need to put in place a retainer to act and you will need to revert to us by email or telephone with:

  • Your name and home address
  • Your contact telephone number
  • A scan copy of your passport and a utility bill with your home address.

We will then arrange to furnish you with an instruction sheet for completion and return ahead of arranging your first consultation by telephone.

When preparing for your Wills Consultation, it is useful to have the following information to hand:

  • An outline of your financial assets and liabilities
  • The names and addresses of those who you wish to benefit

Once an appointment is arranged Carmody Moran Solicitors will in consultation provide such expert legal advice andthis gives you an opportunity to review your situation and ask the expert questions regarding your specific circumstances.We will then work with you to explain the various considerations when making your Will in plain english, take full instructions and prepare a draft Will for you to review before arranging for execution of your Will.

Preparation and Execution of Wills during Covid

In most cases during the Covid-19 emergency, we shall arrange a telephone or digital consultation with you following receipt of your completed instruction sheet. We will then prepare a draft of your Will and we can either:

  • You can attend in your car the carpark to the rear of our building and we will witness your Will through your car window.You will need to bring your own pen and comply with all social distancing / HSE guidelines, or alternatively,
  • We can discuss with you arranging for the digital execution of your Will via zoom consultation, you will need to arrange to have two witnesses available for this purpose who are not beneficiaries of your Will, or related to beneficiaries, and both witnesses and you will need to be present for the digital consultation.
  • If you wish, we can meet with you at your home or garden (travel time will apply bearing in mind we will have to bring two staff members to witness your Will).

If you wish to proceed to make an appointment, please telephone us on

01 8272888 or Email: solicitor@carmodymoran.ie | Web: www.carmodymoran.ie

11/12 The Plaza, Main Street, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15D15YY2R

Call the office in Dublin on 00-353-1-8272888 to make an appointment to meet and discuss making a will further or use the quick enquiry form here.

Wills Information Download sheet

Your Wills and Probate Legal Team in Dublin City Centre

At Carmody Moran Solicitors our experienced property and conveyancing solicitors in Dublin are on hand to advise and are skilled in handling all nature of making a will in Ireland.

The two partners of Carmody Moran solicitors have a combined total of in excess of twenty-five years of professional legal experience. Together with their associates, they aim to make the Court process as straightforward and navigable as possible while being on hand to alleviate their clients’ concerns and worries about going through the Court process.

Anthony-Carmody-Solicitor-Dublin

Anthony Carmody

Partner

Anthony Carmody is one of the founding Partners of Carmody Moran Solicitors.

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-Family-Law-Solicitor-Dublin

Niamh Moran

Partner

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 lawconveyancing in Dublin, 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.

*While we have made every effort to provide accurate information, the law is always changing and it affects each person differently. This information is not a substitute for specific advice about you personally and it is not intended as legal advice. We will not be liable to you if you rely on this information. In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement. This statement is made in compliance with Reg.8 of SI 518 of 2002.

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.

INDEPENDENT GOOGLE CLIENT REVIEWS

Joe Marsh
Joe Marsh
17:59 26 Sep 22
We recently closed on a first time house purchase and we were very pleased with how the whole process was handled at Carmody Moran. They always responded clearly and promptly to the many queries I had along the way and were on the ball with following up issues with the sellers solicitors to keep the process moving.The reason I went with them originally over other options was because they gave a very clear breakdown for the charges and the quoted price we were given was transparent and easy to understand compared to other quotes I received.I will definitely use them again if the need arises and recommend them to my friends and family.
Kenneth Ohaa
Kenneth Ohaa
09:52 01 Sep 22
I got the keys to my new house a few weeks back. I cannot recommend Carmody Moran Solicitors highly enough. It was a bit lengthy as I was buying and selling at the same time. In such cases you need experienced and competent solicitors such as Carmody Moran Solicitors.Stephanie and Helen were a pleasure to work with. Very transparent and communicative. Also occasionally dealt with Lucy and Caila. They were brilliant as well.I would like to say Thank you to the entire Carmody Moran team.Kenneth
Salt Almighty
Salt Almighty
06:16 10 Aug 22
I needed a solicitor to arrange a mortgage, and they went above and beyond to help me !I would advise them to anyone
Andrew NEROH
Andrew NEROH
19:39 04 Jul 22
My partner and I recently made the acquisition of our first home and it was a lengthy and difficult process, due to the fact we were buying from a receiver.In such difficult cases, you will need a legal representation as competent and professional as Carmody Moran Solicitors on your side.We were primarily dealing with Stephanie who gave us regular updates, helped us understand what is happening and what to do. We felt our interest always came first which made every appointment with her something we looked forward to.We were also occasionally in contact with Lucy, Niamh and other brilliant members of the firm, all of whom provided an excellent level of support and knowledge in Stephanie's absence.I couldn't recommend Carmody Moran enough. I would like to give a heartfelt thank-you on behalf of myself and my partner to every one involved at the firm who helped us make our dream a reality. We will not hesitate to call upon your services again should the occasion arise.Andrew.
jonathan
jonathan
16:14 28 Jun 22
I would highly recommend Carmody Moran Solicitors. Niamh Moran and her team helped and supported me through the sale of my home. The transaction was dealt with efficiently and quickly. Every step was clearly explained from the Sale Questionnaire, Contract for Sale to Completion.
Herghelegiu Oana
Herghelegiu Oana
22:44 20 Jun 22
We just got the keys to our dream home 🏡 special thanks to Stephanie,Helen,Caila and Carmody Moran team.All the girls are very friendly and helpful.Stephanie was a pleasure to have you as our solicitor.Highly recommend!
Karolina Siwakowska
Karolina Siwakowska
20:00 28 Mar 22
We've just got the keys to our dream home and Carmody Moran has helped us with all the legal work. We've been dealing with Stephanie and Helen and they both have been great: friendly, professional and communicative. The whole process can be intimidating at times, but they've made sure to make it as easy as possible for us. They've represented us well. Highly recommended.
ciara daly
ciara daly
16:27 18 Feb 22
Anthony and his team went above and beyond for me, everything was always looked after and I was constantly kept in the loop for my RTA case. From phone calls to emails to dealing with insurers. Gave me great peace of mind that I chose the right solicitor and Anthony himself is a gentleman. I would highly recommend Carmody Moran Solicitors.
Cassandra Reyes
Cassandra Reyes
11:11 14 Jan 22
Tony is quick and responsive to me. Very professional and would definitely recommend to my family and friends.Thank you so much.
Martin Kinsella
Martin Kinsella
17:23 15 Dec 21
CarmodyMoran were a pleasure to deal with. I found them to be extremely helpful in all my queries and responded to me in a very personal and professional manner.
Marie Byrne
Marie Byrne
14:06 30 Nov 21
Anthony & Niamh are our family Solicitor, so had no hesitation when the decision was made to sell of our family home. They dealt with my dad in the most caring manner explaining everything in detail. I dealt with Helen Ryan and Stephanie Tierney. The response to every query was exceptional. An absolute pleasure to deal with. If they were unavailable Emma at reception would pass all messages on. It was a very positive experience and a fantastic team at Carmody/Moran Solicitors. Thank you. Marie Byrne
Jennifer Foley
Jennifer Foley
18:13 27 Nov 21
Excellent.I am a client of Carmody Moran for the last few years.Niamh is a lovely person she made a difficult and lengthy process easy and answered any questions in a timely manner, very approachable and thorough.With her guidance and experience I found her to be very professional and understanding of my position, every step of the process was explained to me without overwhelming me.I cannot speak highly enough of Niamh and her team.I am happy to recommend them to anyone.
Richard Lawrence
Richard Lawrence
13:04 02 Sep 21
Would highly recommend.Tony and his team were absolutely brillant dealing with my case.Tony made me feel comfortable from day one, he explained everything to me at all times . Any time I had questions about thing's there was no problem in picking up the phone or sending a email Tony always got back to me and answered my questions.Fantastic service.
Fran Carroll
Fran Carroll
18:10 10 Jun 21
Tony an his team are brilliant.Left no stone unturned.
We availed of Carmody Moran Solicitors for the sale of our property. Niamh and her team were very efficient, quick, easy to reach and, most importantly, proactive to solve issues and process the sale. Really happy with the service and a very good value for money. Highly recommend!
Annamay Rowan
Annamay Rowan
12:21 10 Mar 21
Would highly recommend Anthony Carmody as he was so supportive with me and my family's case. If you made contact he would ring or email you back that day and explain things in your language.
Anant Batra
Anant Batra
00:05 05 Feb 21
Fantastic experience dealing with Anthony. Excellent and quick communication. Would highly recommend!
Elvyra Petkeviciute
Elvyra Petkeviciute
15:43 02 Sep 20
Great service, efficient, proffesional, very responsive. Over all very happy with services.
Tracy Ankers
Tracy Ankers
11:22 02 Aug 20
Would highly recommend Anthony and his team .
Elaine McSweeney
Elaine McSweeney
10:01 31 Jul 20
Really pleased with the advice, help, communication and understanding that I received all the way through my case. A very personable and professional firm with the focus always on the client.
Maxine Hudson
Maxine Hudson
13:47 12 May 20
Would highly recommend. No nonsense straight to the point. Kept informed at all times during the process. Anthony and staff all great.
Mark Kelly
Mark Kelly
02:11 06 Feb 20
Great team to deal with, very professional, communication from them constantly was beyond amazing, nothing but great things to say for them, Tony went above and beyond for me, highly recommended A++ for there service, thank you again guys much appreciated.
Mick Giles
Mick Giles
15:50 09 Dec 19
My experience with this law firm was exceptional. Tony is a very professional man who gave me his time and opinion without over promising on the result. Honest and trustworthy - Highly recommend
david clarke
david clarke
17:01 02 Dec 19
Absolute pleasure working with the CM team. Highly professional, always helpful. Great communication and made the process as hassle free as possible. Highly recommended.
Matthew Canning
Matthew Canning
17:17 23 May 19
Streetfront Lawyers.
Alan Alyyan
Alan Alyyan
19:14 21 Jan 19
Professional Solicitors that you can depend on!
Vanja Jovanovic
Vanja Jovanovic
07:49 06 Jul 18
We have dealt with both, Niamh and Anthony. Very pleased with the level of service. Very professional and always there to answer any questions we had while guiding us through the process. Highly recommended
Bonnie B
Bonnie B
07:52 14 Jun 18
Great to deal with professional,patient and efficient. Big thanks to Niamh, Leanne and Camilla .
declan mcgrath
declan mcgrath
07:36 12 Jun 18
Great service from Niamh, Leanne and all the team at Carmody Moran. Thanks
Phyllis Dalton
Phyllis Dalton
16:33 31 May 18
Our experience with Carmody Moran was very positive. They were very professional and always there on the phone if I ever needed anything. Great service.
Andrew Penrose
Andrew Penrose
23:57 24 May 18
We selected Carmody Moran to represent us. Great experience with Niamh and the crew after over a year engagement on property dealings have nothing but great things to say. Very professional, prompt to queries and very responsive. Highly recommended.
Paul Moran
Paul Moran
17:52 25 Feb 18
Professional but very friendly and courteous.
jingjing xu
jingjing xu
16:11 15 Jun 15
I went to Carmody after deciding to get a house. I found their work is detailed and very reliable. I will go again to them for next time legal service.
David McGowan
David McGowan
16:43 14 May 15
I went to Carmody Moran Solicitors after a car accident and needed injury claim advice, I was incredibly impressed and was kept well informed of how my claim was progressing.They were very straight forward and never set unrealistic time frames or over promising but delivered on everything, They were consummate professionals and I really can't thank them enough, I would highly recommend them to anyone and I will use them for any legal advice I may have in the future.
Terry Palmer
Terry Palmer
15:24 23 Apr 15
I have always found the service offered by Carmody Moran to be first rate and i would would have no hesitation in recommending them.
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