Questions regarding doing probate myself

Discussion in 'Wills, inheritances and gifts' started by Amanda18, Apr 10, 2018.

  1. Amanda18

    Amanda18 Registered User

    Posts:
    3
    Hi

    My uncle (a bachelor without any children) died earlier this year and left his farm to my mother (his sister), my brother and myself equally. He did not leave anything to another sister. We are his only immediate family. My mother and I were named executors of the will.

    My brother will move into the farm and my mother and myself would like him to own the property outright (for agricultural relief purposes). From my research so far, my understanding is that if both my mother and I disclaim our inheritance, my brother will inherit everything, as he was the only other beneficiary in the will. My aunt will not inherit as there is a valid will and she wasn't named in it. Is my understanding correct ?

    I am trying to go through probate myself to avoid solicitor's costs, and I have some questions :
    • in the affidavit, I have to list the assets of the estate. We have a recent valuation of the farm, so that is ok. But how do I get the banks/credit unions etc to provide information on his accounts ? Surely they won't give me the information just on the basis of the death certificate ? Do I have to provide them with a copy of the will ?

    • I also have to list his liabilities – but how do I know who he owed money to ? I presume I need to contact electricity and water suppliers, but apart from that, what is my responsibility, as executor in this regard ?

    • For the disclaimer letter, I was just going to type a simple letter saying « I hereby disclaim any inheritance that has been bequeathed to me by my uncle, XXX, of XXX, who died on XXX » and sign it. And get my mother to sign a similar one. Is that enough ? Would it need to be witnessed by a solicitor ? Is there anything else I should put in the letter?
    Thanks for any help you can provide.....it's a complicated process, but I think I'm getting there !
     
  2. T McGibney

    T McGibney Frequent Poster

    Posts:
    3,360
    Do yourself a favour and get a solicitor on the case. Once there's property involved, there remains a possibility that all hell could break loose in your family if you end up making mistakes. Life's too short.
     
    Ravima and noproblem like this.
  3. noproblem

    noproblem Frequent Poster

    Posts:
    1,120
    Taking out probate yourself to save money? As the previous poster commented, get a solicitor. Better still, have a chat with your uncles one and YOU'LL GET AN IDEA OF COSTS, ETC. A lot of the older people who have passed away and were small farmers or similar drew the pension but might not have everything declared or may have forgotten to do certain things and that's only for starters.
     
    Ravima likes this.
  4. Amanda18

    Amanda18 Registered User

    Posts:
    3
    Thanks, and we may end up having to do that, but I want to give it a try myself first. My uncle didn't leave any money (and we don't have any spare cash), so to pay the solicitor we would have to sell a field or something, which we would like to avoid if at all possible. Any help would be much appreciated.
     
  5. T McGibney

    T McGibney Frequent Poster

    Posts:
    3,360
    If you make a mess of it, you might have to sell two fields.
     
    noproblem likes this.
  6. Slim

    Slim Frequent Poster

    Posts:
    2,120
    Amanda18: I admire your endeavour but, having recently taken out Administration on my aunt's estate, which was really a simple estate, I would strongly recommend you employ a solicitor. The paperwork was horrendous and I was glad we had a solicitor to deal with it all. In your case, it will be particularly important to have experience and expertise on hand. The solicitor will wait til all is sorted before needing paying and your brother is inheriting a farm so he will be able to pay the solicitor.
     
  7. Thirsty

    Thirsty Frequent Poster

    Posts:
    1,823
    I'll disagree with the previous posters and tell you its not that difficult.

    However your questions tell me you're not sure where to start.

    Start by getting yourself educated; read up the citzens information website and also revenue commissioners on the CA24.

    Esp check out the section on inheritance tax.

    There's a good thread here on DIY probate also.

    As executor you 'stand in the shoes' of the deceased, so you act for your late uncle. As long as you have the certified copy of the will, death cert & personal ID you can request all the information you need.
     
  8. PMU

    PMU Frequent Poster

    Posts:
    891
    Based in what you have said, you do not intend to benefit personally from your inheritance and you and your mother intend to hand it over to your brother in a way in which he will not pay gift tax. This is more than generous. You or rather the estate should hire a solicitor to assist you and your co-executor to carry out your legal duties. Solicitor's costs should be small relative to the size of the estate (and the amount of work involved and the risk of screwing up the disclaimers).
     
  9. Thirsty

    Thirsty Frequent Poster

    Posts:
    1,823
  10. Amanda18

    Amanda18 Registered User

    Posts:
    3
    Thank you very much for the link Thirsty and your comments - I'll look it up and see whether I think I can do it myself.....

    I appreciate all of your comments and will also have a chat with the solicitor to see how much it will cost.

    Thanks!
     
  11. Protocol

    Protocol Frequent Poster

    Posts:
    2,702
    If the estate is relatively simple, e.g. house and savings accounts, I would do it myself.

    This is because legal fees are well known to be excessive in Ireland.

    Everybody from the IMF to the European Commission have suggested reforms to drive down the massive legal fees in Ireland, yet the Govt has taken little action.

    I have heard of probate fees of 10,000 for simple estates of a house and a few savings accounts.

    These fees should be 1,000 max, if we had much more use of ICT, more competition, less greed, etc.
     
    Annie51 likes this.
  12. T McGibney

    T McGibney Frequent Poster

    Posts:
    3,360
    The OP's first post confirms that there's much more here than a DIY probate here though. A claim for CAT agricultural relief, proposed inheritance disclaimers and an unestablished creditors position for starters.
     
    dereko1969 likes this.
  13. mf1

    mf1 Frequent Poster

    Posts:
    4,068
    Where do you even start? Maybe as a practising solicitor who is happy to provide a service but who needs to generate an income to pay staff, rent, professional indemnity insurance, a wage, pony upkeep, running the Aga and paying the marina fees for their ENORMOUS YACHT and on and on. Solicitors do not work for nothing, we are not a charity.

    1. This is not a simple estate.
    2. Fees have not actually been raised as an issue - no fee quote has been sought.
    3. MASSIVE LEGAL FEES- BIG RANTING HEADLINE
    4. Probate fees of 10K- in your vast experience.
    5. These fees should be 1,000 max, if we had much more use of ICT, more competition, less greed, etc.

    This is complete and utter nonsense. An average Probate will take anything up to four months to work through the Probate Office which is preceded by an average of 3-4 months work in gathering in details of the estate. During this time, we are monitoring the process , keeping in touch with the executor/administrator, keeping an eye on potential tax liabilities etc.,etc.

    A fee of 1K makes no sense at all unless the executors expectation is that the solicitor's other work ( from which they are deriving MASSIVE LEGAL FEES) should subsidise their file.

    And, for what its worth, I think the OP's proposal to do the Probate themselves is not a runner. I suspect that any potential savings in MASSIVE LEGAL FEES will be outweighed by the costs of rectifying errors.

    mf
     
    noproblem, Buddyboy and mathepac like this.
  14. DirectDevil

    DirectDevil Frequent Poster

    Posts:
    473
    I was an executor for an elderly relative. Her will was clear and simple so the probate process was straightforward although there was a need for great attention to detail. I reckon that we saved about €10,000 plus VAT in solicitor's fees by proceeding by way of personal application.

    A personal application is all fine and well where there are no complications. Some of the detail that OP describes is not straightforward as there are some lurking hazards in it. This is a case that strongly recommends itself to the professional attention of a solicitor because this probate has some atypical features that need to be nailed down "belt and braces" for the protection of all parties.

    Be aware that the Probate Office has the right to direct a personal applicant to discontinue their application and to submit the application through a solicitor.

    In relation to solicitors be careful to shop around. Before engaging a solicitor formally to take instructions be sure to get a Section 68 letter first. This letter sets out an indication of the likely work required and the estimated fees.

    In rural areas it is common for families to ask the solicitor (usually the family solicitor) who executed the will to complete the probate work. There is no obligation to instruct the solicitor who executed the will to deal with the subsequent probate.

    In getting a "price for the job" from a solicitor remember that there may also be some conveyancing work to be done after probate is completed. If that is so it might be worth negotiating a composite price to cover probate and conveyancing. Technically, probate and conveyancing are separate sets of instructions. Commercially a decent rate can be negotiated to cover both.
     
  15. Vanessa

    Vanessa Frequent Poster

    Posts:
    171
    Penny wise and pound foolish. You have been left a farm and you are quibbling over having to sell a field to pay costs. Then you are trying a stunt to avoid taxation. This is not as simple as writing out a disclaimer.
    It is people like you that make solicitors rich as they come in to clean up the amateurs mess
     
  16. Protocol

    Protocol Frequent Poster

    Posts:
    2,702
    My comments are not a "big ranting headline".

    It is well established that Irish legal fees are way out of line than elsewhere:

    https://www.irishtimes.com/news/hea...nd-are-now-highest-in-western-world-1.2053218

    I accept that this isn't a simple estate, that's why I started my comments with "If the estate is relatively simple, e.g. house and savings accounts, I would do it myself."

    Boards.ie and AAM are full of cases of simple probate costing 10,000.

    Maybe we need a dedicated trade /paralegal type trade to just do probate and conveyancing.

    If all properties and all financial assets/liabilities were registered electronically, then I don't see why a simple estate couldn't be processed for 1,000 max.
     
  17. T McGibney

    T McGibney Frequent Poster

    Posts:
    3,360
    All utterly irrelevant to the OP's situation though, as was your earlier post. How on earth do you visualise an elderly farmer's bill with the local merchant or co-op, or one in a nearby town, being registered electronically?
     
  18. Thirsty

    Thirsty Frequent Poster

    Posts:
    1,823
    "you are trying a stunt to avoid taxation. "

    This unwarranted. OP in entitled to take advantage of any legal reliefs available.

    " ...people like you that make solicitors rich as they come in to clean up the amateurs mess"

    @Vanessa How does that impact you?
     
  19. mf1

    mf1 Frequent Poster

    Posts:
    4,068

    If you look at your irish Times link, you'll see that it relates to litigation costs - nothing at all to do with average fees in general practice, which, in my experience, are very often driven down by local competition.

    And no-one would insure "dedicated trade /paralegal type trade" for probate and conveyancing work - it is too complex.

    "If all properties and all financial assets/liabilities were registered electronically,"...................well, they're not.

    mf
     
    elcato and Buddyboy like this.
  20. Vanilla

    Vanilla Frequent Poster

    Posts:
    4,097
    The proposed disclaimer may not have the intended effect, so you do need specialist legal advice on that.

    Your wording is incorrect and for a disclaimer to have effect, the person disclaiming needs independent legal advice.

    Qualifying for agricultural relief is not a given, however you have a potential period of time here to review the tax situation before the probate issues ( assuming your brother has not gone into occupation- a definite no no at this point). He should immediately take advice to ensure that if he doesn't now qualify, he may be in a position to make himself qualify.

    You and your mother need advice on your intentions and how your brother can potentially pay consideration to you with good rather than bad tax consequences.

    In short, I think this is an estate where you certainly need advice and to try to take out a personal grant now could have very serious tax consequences, not to mention legal consequences which are not necessary.

    A good experienced probate solicitor will guide you through all the potential pitfalls and is well worth the cost of their fees.
     
    elcato likes this.