Inheritance and Family Law issues

Blanchardstown, Castleknock, 27 Upper Mount Street, Dublin City Centre

Inheritance & Family Law Solicitors in Ireland

When someone dies, all of their property passes to their personal representative. A personal representative is the legal term more commonly referred to as an Executor.

The term legal personal representative encompasses the different types of persons who can be appointed to deal with a deceased’s assets and includes the following:

  • Where there is a Will, this person is known as an Executor
  • Where there is no Will, or a partial intestacy, an Administrator

The personal representative must first obtain legal proof of their powers by way of the issue of a Grant of Porbate or Grant of Administration from the Probate Office and only then can they collect and distribute the deceased’s assets (money, possessions and property) in accordance with the will – if there is one. Where there is no Will, the deceased is said to have died intestate, and distribution will be in accordance with the laws of intestacy as set out in the Succession Act 1965

Call us about any Family Law Inheritance queries. As Inheritance & Family Law Solicitors Ireland based in Dublin this is an area of expertise for Niamh, so we are very happy to get your enquiries on the topic.

Frequently Asked Questions of our Inheritance & Family Law Solicitors in Dublin, Ireland

How do you know if you have been left something under a Will?

Normally you will get a letter either from the Executor or their solicitor informing you of the inheritance. If you know the Executor, you can ask them. In the usual course they will let you know and keep you advised, otherwise as the Executor progresses the Probate they will need to make contact with you to obtain certain information as part of the Revenue return required ahead of applying for Probate.

Do Executors have to keep beneficiaries informed?
if you are an Executor then you should notify each beneficiary of their bequest under the Will or intestacy as soon as the gift or intestacy or partial intestacy has been established and the next of kin properly ascertained. On occasion this can take some time, otherwise it should be attended to in early course. It is generally advisable thereafter for Executors to keep beneficiaries informed as to the progress in the Estate and Carmody Moran Solicitors LLP write with such updates to beneficiaries when instructed by client Executors.
How long till I get my inheritance? How long does Probate take in Ireland?

In Ireland, you can expect  Probate to last up to one year and this is generally referred to as the  “Executor’s Year”.This is generally the anticipated time frame for probate to issue and matters to conclude to a distribution.

There is no exact time frame, and for a very straightforward estate with no property and a single bank account with less than €30,000, it could take as little as 3 months for beneficiaries to receive their inheritance. The majority of estates are more complex than this, however.

In the normal course it will take around 6 to 12 months for beneficiaries to start receiving their inheritance, but this varies depending on the complexity of the estate. 

Tax clearance can pose an issue if there are assets outside of Ireland in particular, and there are several factors which affect the complexity of an estate and in turn increase the time it takes for beneficiaries to receive their inheritance.  If there are numerous properties to be sold for example, the average time frame to sell as property and have it complete is 22 weeks, nearly six months from going to market.  In particularly complex estates where there is a dispute for example or complex assets probate can even take years for administration to be completed.  At Carmody Moran Solicitors LLP we will update you with realistic time frames as the probate advances and work with you to identify priority issues and deadlines. 

How do you know when Probate has been granted?
When Probate has been granted, the Grant of Probate will issue to the Executor’s nominated Solicitor or to the Executor if they have made the application themselves. A Grant of Probate is a document of public record and once a Grant has issued, it may be requested from the Probate Office in Dublin or the appropriate District Probate Office.
What does an Executor do after Probate issues?

The Executor is obliged to pay the funeral expenses and all other expenses outstanding by the Estate. The Executor is then required to distribute the assets to those entitled while ensuring any taxes relevant to the Estate are paid. Tax clearance is generally obtained before distribution. Finally, the Executor must furnish an administration account, accounting for all monies received and distributed during the administration period. At Carmody Moran Solicitors LLP our inheritance and family law solicitors in Ireland attend to all of these matters for Executors, greatly easing the burden upon them in attending to their Executor duties.

Does an Executor have to follow the Will?
The Executor must follow the instructions left in the Will.
What if an Executor does not follow the instructions set out in the Will?

If an executor does not follow the terms of the will, the Executor should be contacted to highlight the issues of concern. Ideally this should be done in writing so that there is a record if necessary, at a later date, to demonstrate to a court that:

  • the concerns were concisely raised, and were put to the executor at an early stage
  • an opportunity was afforded to the executor to remedy to problem

As with all legal disputes, attempts to resolve matters in advance of embarking on legal proceedings should be taken and such evidence available to the Court if required of the endeavours made to reach agreement.

Can an Executor sell property without all beneficiaries agreeing?

Yes, in certain situations. If there is no explicit instructions in a Will stating that property cannot be sold, an executor does have the authority to sell property without approval from all beneficiaries.

When selling a property the Executor should take professional advice and ensure that they follow the views of the majority to avail of the protection afforded to them under Section 50 of the Succession Act 1965. Frequently Executors (or their Solicitors) will write to the beneficiaries seeking their views on sale. The views of the majority of the beneficiaries must be exercised in good faith, and without personal motivation or any conflicts of interest.

Does an Executor show accounts for the Estate?

The Executor must furnish an administration account for the beneficiaries, and account for all monies received and all monies distributed during the administration period. At Carmody Moran Solicitors LLP for executor clients we will prepare an account as of the date of death, a cash account showing all monies received and spent during the course of the administration, and a distribution account. This transparency is extremely important in ensuring that matters progress smoothly and to both Executors and beneficiaries.

Can you use a deceased’s bank account to pay for the funeral?

Yes, funeral expenses are the priority debt payable and can be paid before a Grant of Probate or Grant of Administration issues.

Once a deceased had sufficient funds in a bank account, the bank will release funds either directly to the funeral director or to a relative who has paid the funeral director on submission of the relevant receipts. At Carmody Moran Solicitors LLP our expert inheritance and family law solicitors in Ireland will be on hand to help you navigate all of these initial steps with as little stress as possible.

How do you deal with being disinherited?

Step one is to obtain legal advice and with experienced inheritance and family law solicitors in Ireland review your personal situation and your options. The potential grounds for contesting a Will, reviewing your personal situation and if there are legislative grounds to rely upon, the process for doing so and how likely a challenge is to succeed will all need to be reviewed. At Carmody Moran Solicitors LLP we offer an initial consultation at a fixed legal fee to review your situation, next steps and strategy can be reviewed, and immediate steps to protect your position if necessary. You can read further here of some case studies of this area of law.

https://carmodymoran.ie/estate-planning/estate-planning-case-studies/

Can relatives contest a Will?

A Will can be challenged on various grounds on the basis that it does not comply with Irish law. For a Will to be valid, it must be in writing and there are very strict requirements as to the format both in terns of how it is written and how it is witnessed. The witnesses to the Will cannot be beneficiaries or spouses of beneficiaries, as any gift to them will be invalid. If you have reason to challenge any of the requirements, an action can be brought and as with all these matters early and expert legal advice is key.

A Testator (the person making the Will) must also be of sound mind and common grounds to challenge a will are:

  • The validity and /or construction of the Will and its compliance with the legal formalities that are required
  • A lack of testamentary capacity
  • Undue Influence and / or duress
  • Unfulfilled promise to leave a specific bequest to someone (known in law as Estoppel)
  • The will does not provide for a spouse or children in accordance with the Succession Act 1965
  • Property has been disposed before death to stop people inheriting it

If you wish to contest a will, you should get advice immediately as there are strict timeframes that must be complied withand cases taken outside these time limits may be thrown out of Court.

At Carmody Moran Solicitors LLP we offer an initial consultation at a fixed legal fee to review matters, give early advice, and consider a strategy of how best to progress matters and of immediate steps to protect your position if necessary. We are also highly experienced at defending against a potential Will challenge and as in any potentially contentious legal situation, early and expert advice is key and we will always endeavour to resolve matters amicably and without the need to go to Court where possible.

Who pays legal costs when contesting a Will?

The legal costs of any action will vary on a case by case basis depending on the complexity of the matters in dispute, the assets in the estate, and the length of the court hearing and level of dispute. If the challenge to the will is successful or is lost but had merit, then the Court has a discretion to Order that the legal costs be paid out of the Estate. If however, the case is lost and Court feels that the challenge was frivolous or vexatious, then the challenger may have to pay all the legal costs.

At the outset of your case, a solicitor is required to give you an estimate of the likely cost and we will discuss the likely recovery of legal costs. As with most legal cases, costs will generally follow the event, meaning that a successful case ordinarily includes an award towards or in discharge of legal costs.

Some common enquiries that we get:I have been appointed as Executor of my Mother’s Will. I am worried my someone in my family will clear out my Mother’s jewellery and other contents of value, what can I do?

The first step is to protect the assets and the Executor has a duty to ensure that all assets of the Estate are properly protected. At Carmody Moran Solicitors LLP we offer an initial consultation at a fixed legal fee to review matters to give early and practical advice and for further information please get in touch with our inheritance and family law solicitors in Ireland.

My Uncle made a Will appointing my late Mother as his Executor. My Mother has passed away, is the Will valid, what happens now?

Many people make a Will and then do not review it regularly, circumstances change, but the Will has not been updated to reflect the current situation. The situation described accordingly is not that unusual. If an Executor appointed under a Will dies, then that does not impact the substance of the remainder of the Will. The Will remains valid and enforceable, however the type of Probate application differs. Where there is a Will all the Executors named and living at the date of the Testator’s (the will maker) death are entitled to extract a Grant of Probate. In this situation the Executor is deceased, and so there is a partial intestacy. The type of application that is made is for a Grant of Administration with Will Annexed. This Grant then appoints an administrator or administrators to act as legal personal representative to the Estate. The administrator in this instance has no power to act prior to the Grant. The Estate will vest in the President of the High Court pending the issue of the Grant.

I have been appointed as Executor under a Will, my father ran a busy small business but the Will is silent about the business, what do I do?

Early and practical advise specific to your situation is vital here. If there is no authority to carry on the deceased’s business under the Will, then it may be necessary to sell the business and realise it as soon as is reasonably practicable. Clearly this is not always practical or prudent and a good business management approach with legal advice will be required to determine how best to proceed.

Your Expert Inheritance Claims Legal Team in Ireland

At Carmody Moran Solicitors our experienced Inheritance and Family Law Solicitors Ireland are on hand to advise and skilled in handling all nature of inheritance and estate planning.

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.

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.

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