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Probate FAQ

  1. What is Grant Probate?
    A Grant of Probate is a document released by the probate office where a person dies having left a will.  The Grant allows the appropriately nominated person to deal with and administer the deceased persons estate.  It can also be referred to as a Grant of Representation.
  2. What is Grant of Administration?
    This is a document which is released by the probate office in an instance where a deceased has died without leaving a will.  Similar to the above mentioned Grant of Probate, it allows the appropriate person to administer the deceased’s estate.
  3. Do I have to pay tax?
    This will depend on what type of gift you receive, whether you have received any gifts in the past and your relationship to the person who has left you the gift.

  4. What is Capital Acquisitions Tax?
    Capital Acquisitions Tax (known as CAT) is a tax payable to the Revenue upon receipt of gifts which are either given during a lifetime or inherited after a death.  Tax will only have to be paid if the gift is over a certain value.

  5. How is Capital Acquisitions Tax calculated?
    CAT must be paid at the rate of 33%.  However, a certain amount of a gift received will be tax free depending on your relationship to the person who has given you the gift.  There are three different group thresholds and your taxable free allowance will depend on which group you match.

    Group A – Children – a Child can receive a gift up to €225,000 tax free.

    Group B – Close relatives such as parents, brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews come under this category and they can receive a gift of €30,150 without having to pay tax

    Group C – All other relationship fall under this category and it allows for a tax free allowance of €15,075

    Tax of 33% will be paid on the remaining value of the gift.  However, there are a number of exemptions and qualifications on these taxes which a solicitor will be able to talk you through and the above figures should not be taken at face value.  The amount of tax to be paid and the amount of your tax free allowance will depend on either the date of the death or the date of the gift.  In these circumstances, we would advise that you contact us for a consultation to discuss your particular tax brackets.

  6. How do I find out what monies are outstanding by the deceased?
    Your solicitor will make the relevant enquiries of the Revenue, banks, building societies and other institutions in the course of their administration of the estate.

  7. What happens to my property or assets in foreign countries?
    If you have left a will in the country where your foreign assets are located, their distribution will be governed by the terms of the will.  If you have not left a will dealing with these assets, legal advice will have to be sought from an advisor in the particular country as to how to the estate can be administered.

  8. What should I do if a relative left property in a foreign country?
    You should find out if the relative left a will dealing with the foreign property or seek legal advise from a solicitor in the country as to how to deal with the asset.

  9. What information do I need to bring with me to my Solicitor?
    We will always send our clients out a list of the information they need to take with them to their consultation and it will be dependent on the type of probate we are dealing with.  However, a general list of items which are necessary include the following:

    Will, Death Certificate, List of surviving Relatives, proof of address of deceased, PPS Number of deceased, name of executor listed in the will, proof of address, PPS number, details of assets the deceased may have held including bank accounts, building society, post office accounts, prize bonds, cars, shares, pensions, medical schemes, debts of the estate such as funeral costs, details of the beneficiaries including their relationship to the deceased, PPS number and contact details.

  10. What is Intestacy?
    Someone is said to have died intestate if they have died without making a will.  Their estate will then be administered according to the rules of intestacy.
  11. What are the Rules of Intestacy?
    The Succession Act of 1965 governs the administration of an intestate estate.  A brief overview of the most invoked rules under this act are as follows:

    Where a deceased is survived by a spouse but no children – spouse gets entire estate.
    Where there is a spouse and children – spouse gets two thirds, one third is divided between the children.
    Children and no spouse – divided equally between the children.
    Only parents – divided equally between the parents
    Only brothers or sisters – divided equally between siblings
    If there are no relatives, the estate will go to the State.


  1. Why should you make a Will?
    A Will allows you to ensure your property and assets are distributed the way you desire when you die.  Otherwise, as explained above, your property will be subject to the rules of intestacy.

  2. Did my relation leave a Will?
    If someone has made a will, they usually leave it at their solicitors for safe keeping.  We advise that you phone your relatives local solicitor and they will be happy to search through their records.

  3. What can I do if the deceased left no Will?
    If the deceased left no will, the estate will be administered according to the rules of intestacy as explained above.  It is difficult to advise on the outcome of such an estate without knowledge of your relationship to the deceased but the scenarios as outlined above should give an indication of who is entitled to what in such a situation.

  4. What are Executors?
    The executor is the person entitled to take out the grant of probate in the estate of the deceased.  There duties are onerous and include but are not limited to the following:

    Ascertaining all the assets and liabilities of the deceased persons estate, paying the expenses of the estate and obtaining all relevant tax clearances.  This duty lasts forever and if a later asset is discovered it would be the duty of the executor to dispose of the assets as per the will.  However, an executor may employ a solicitor to help him discharge these administrative roles.

  5. Can I change my Will?
    You can change your will as often as you like.  The last valid will you created before your death will be the one which remains in force.  However, to ensure amendments are valid we advise that you contact your solicitor to make these changes as they need to be witnessed and inserted in a specific fashion.
  6. How do I contest a Will?
    One cannot contest a will simply because they are unhappy with its contents and the courts view applications to contest such wills with reticence.  Depending on the reason for contesting the will (which could vary between belief that the deceased did not have the capacity to make the will, that there was undue influence from someone else during its creation or that you have not received what you were promised or entitled to) the application process will vary.

    Depending on the reason to contest, various time limits will apply.  If you wish to contest a will, please contact your Solicitor as a matter of urgency.  Application are made by way of Special Summons in the Masters Court and very specific limitations attach to such applications.


Enduring Power of Attorney

  1. What happens if the donor is temporarily incapacitated?
    Any powers which may have been handed over to the Attorney under the Enduring Power of Attorney may be revoked once the donor regains their mental capacity to manage their affairs again.  This may be the case in times of severe illness which are then overcome.
  2. What is Wardship/Ward of Court?
    Where a person no longer has the ability to look after themselves or their affairs but they did not have the foresight to create an Enduring Power of Attorney, a suitable person may apply to the court to nominate a Committee to take control of the Wards affairs.  Two Doctors must give their professional opinion that the nominated person does not have the mental capacity to look after their own affairs and the courts will also send out an independent doctor to verify their reports.

    It is a complicated procedure and if you feel a family member may be in need of such an application to be made on their behalf we would urge you to contact our offices today.