Probate in Ireland—an overview

The probate process in Ireland is the legal method used to deal with a deceased person’s estate and ensure it is distributed to the rightful beneficiaries.

As expert probate genealogists, Finders Ireland knows the ins and outs of the process and has prepared the following overview of how it works.

Firstly, to deal with a deceased person’s assets documentation is needed—this authorising document is generally known as a grant of representation. If the person who has died leaves a will, then that will names someone as an executor and their job is to carry out the terms of the will. He or she will be given a grant of probate from the Probate Office. The executor’s first job is to prove that the will is valid so that the deceased person’s wishes can be enacted.

Right can be renounced

If the executor does not wish to prove the will, they can renounce this right.

However, should the person die without leaving a valid will (referred to as dying intestate), then Irish probate law establishes that the assets are dealt with by an administrator—usually one or more of the deceased person’s living relatives. The administrator needs to apply for a document, grant of letters of administration, in order to distribute the estate.

Another document relating to the probate process is a grant of letters of administration with will annexed. This applies in cases where there is a valid will, but the executor is not the person applying for the grant. This might happen in cases where the executor has died themselves, is unwilling or unable to act, or that the will does not appoint an executor.

Debts settled

In most cases, the person applying for such a grant is the person who is entitled to receive whatever is left in the estate once all other debts and gifts have been settled.

Grants are necessary in every instance where someone dies leaving behind property and/or land (as the sole owner), so that they can be sold or transferred to whoever is entitled to receive the assets.

For money in banks or other financial institutions, a grant of representation under Irish Probate Law may be needed. The executor or next of kin should contact the bank or institution to find out what they require to release the funds.

Assets passed automatically

For houses and/or land that is owned jointly, then those assets may automatically pass to the surviving joint owner and usually this means a grant is not required. For money in a joint bank account, a grant may be needed because the money does not necessarily pass to the surviving account holder, depending on the type of account or why it was opened.

To administer an estate, various stages take place. The process begins with informing the beneficiaries and requesting their PPS number and if they have received previous gifts. If the will names charities to benefit, then the administrator asks for their official charity number and keeps their acknowledgement for the Commissioners for Charitable Donations.

All the relevant information is gathered, and financial institutions contacted to find out the date of death balances. Utility providers are asks for final bills and arrangements are made for funeral payments.

Claims against the estate

The Department of Social Protection is informed of the person’s death and checked for claims against the estate, and a Revenue Affidavit CA24 is completed for the Revenue and Probate Office to obtain the relevant grant.

The administrator distributes the certified grant and the withdrawal forms to banks. All assets are called in, the deceased’s tax affairs are finalised, bills are paid, and the accounts approved by the executor.

Finders Ireland specialises in tracing unclaimed assets, accounts, pensions, life insurance, shareholding or property owners. We work to a professional conduct code and can meet tight deadlines. You can contact us by email [email protected] or telephone +353(0) 15676940