- Legal challenges against Wills
- Dispute resolution in relation to estates – mediation
- Wards of Court applications
- Enduring Powers of Attorney
- Probate and the Administration of Estates – DIY or Full Service available
What exactly is “Probate”?
“Probate” is generally used to describe the various formalities that are required in order to deal with a person’s estate after they have died. The term comes from the “Grant of Probate”, which is a document that issues from the High Court Probate Office, and that serves as proof that a Will is genuine. It also proves that the executor is authorised to deal with the estate, and confirms that the executor is entitled to deal with the deceased’s assets.
If there is no Will, then the equivalent document is called a “Grant of Administration.” If there is a Will, but someone other than the executor appointed in the Will is taking out the Grant, then it is called a “Grant of Administration with Will Annexed.” The umbrella term “Grant of Representation” refers to any of the three types of Grant.
What does the Administration of an Estate involve?
The administration of an estate includes all of the paperwork and applications that are required so that the assets of the estate can be released, the bills paid, and the beneficiaries of the estate can receive their inheritances.
How much does the Probate and the Administration of an Estate cost?
This depends on how much work there is to do, and of course on who does it.
Can I do keep the fees down by doing DIY Probate? Can I get some help from a solicitor while I do?
If you are the executor of a Will, or the next-of-kin dealing with an intestate estate that is relatively small, you may wish to keep legal costs down by doing some of the work yourself. If you are thinking of doing the work yourself, then it may be helpful to have some advice or assistance along the way.
Most solicitors take an all or nothing approach to Probate. I prefer to work with my clients, if they prefer to do most of the administration themselves, so that they get the help they need when they need it.
As a solicitor, the amount of work required in administering an estate can vary widely; needless to say, this has a significant influence on the amount of fees charged. A client might arrive with a completed Inland Revenue Affidavit and documents to vouch, having done a lot of the laborious work themselves, and ask us to make sure that everything is correct before they proceed to submit it to the Revenue Commissioners. Another may arrive with a box full of papers and documents that they have pulled out of safes and shoe boxes, and ask that we sort through everything for them, and take care of the administration as well as applying for the Grant and distributing the assets.
Whether you are determined to DIY and want to make sure you have the legal advice you need to do so, or you want us to take the work off your hands, we can work out a package to suit you.
We will provide you with a quote based on whether you want advice and templates to do a DIY Probate, or whether you’d prefer to had it all over and let us take care of everything (the traditional route), or something in between, like our Value Package or a version of it.
|The steps in dealing with the Probate and Administration of an Estate||
Be independent and well advised
You do some of the work
Leave it to us.
|Introductory consultation to answer your questions and explain the process to you.||This meeting will be as long as it takes to get you started: We Will go through the materials and template that we are providing to you, and answer all of your questions. We can keep in touch on the phone to answer your questions as matters progress.||We will be available to meet with you or speak on the phone to answer your questions at all times as matters progress.|
|Step one is to create a customised database of the assets and liabilities in the estate. This can be updated to note when valuations come in, bills are paid, and assets distributed. This is a convenient way for the administrator to keep track of how matters are progressing.||We provide a template that you can update as you proceed to help you keep track of how you’re doing. We find this a great help in keeping our own work on administrations efficient.||We place the file in a secure online folder, so that you can check to see how matters are progressing any time you want to.|
|Obtain valuations of any real property, shares, or any other items that are to be sold; realistic valuations are crucial as the tax payable will be based on the valuations.||You contact auctioneers and organise the valuations.||We contact auctioneers and organise the valuations.|
|Write to each of the institutions and utility companies involved, to find out the values of the accounts and the extent of the liabilities of the deceased.||We provide you with template letters that you can send to the institutions.||We do all of this for you.|
|Schedule reminder letters! Utility companies etc rarely respond promptly to queries regarding the accounts of deceased persons.||We do all of this for you.|
|Find out the addresses and PPS numbers of each of the beneficiaries. Write to them to them to ask whether they have received any aggregable gifts for the purposes of CAT.||We provide you with template letters that you can send to the beneficiaries.||We do all of this for you. We will also follow up with the beneficiaries by telephone to make sure they understand what is happening.|
|Complete and submit the Inland Revenue Affidavit (IT38); this is a list of the assets and liabilities of the deceased. It also includes information about each of the beneficiaries, for example whether they have received any aggregable prior gifts. Any taxes payable by the beneficiaries are calculated on this basis.||We will provide the form and instructions, and you will fill the form, based on all the information you’ve gathered. You will have a second consultation so that we can look over the IT38 with you before you submit it, and to answer any questions you have about tax etc.||We will submit the form and deal with any queries you or the beneficiaries have about taxation issues.|
|Prepare an Oath for your Executor to sign. Take the executed Oath, together with the IT38, to the Probate Office in Phoenix House, Smithfield, Dublin, or to the local probate registry. Applications must be presented in person. The Probate Office in Smithfield will deal with personal applicants (the local probate registries do not). Because the Probate Office requires absolute perfection in every application, the process can become quite drawn out and return visits to the Probate Office may be required.||We will provide you with a template Oath at the outset. We will look over it with you at your second consultation, and you will extract the Grant as a personal applicant.||We will draft the Oath for you to sign and we will make the Probate Application for you.|
|Once you have the Grant, then any real property can be sold. Banks will also now release funds to the executor, whose duty it is to pay any bills and to distribute the funds to the beneficiaries.||We will provide you with template letters so that funds can be released to you. We will also provide you with a template accounts spreadsheet that you can use to keep track of the distribution of assets.||We will draw down the funds from the banks etc for you, pay any bills that are outstanding and distribute the assets to the beneficiaries, ensuring that you receive all of the correct receipts etc. We will also wind up the estate and tie up any loose ends. You will have the reassurance of having had matters taken care of by a fully indemnified solicitor.|
If you have any queries about a Probate application, or if you would like to contact us with a view to getting a quote for the administration of an estate or extracting a Grant of Probate etc, we would of course be happy to hear from you.