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FAQ's

What happens if I don't make a Will

Your Estate will be distributed according to law which may not be what you wish. In addition, the distribution of your Estate may not be tax efficient.

Will a spouse automatically inherit everything where their children and assets are in the deceased spouse's name?

No. Therefore, a Will is important to protect the surviving spouse.

Can I leave my house to one of my children only, to the exclusion of the others?

Yes, but you should be aware of the implications of a Section 117 application.

Can my children dispute my Will?

Yes, but it depends on the circumstances and facts of each case.

Is it cheaper to make a "home-made" Will? Are there any pitfalls in making one?

There are many pitfalls which might cause a Will to be rejected by the Probate Office so that your wishes might not be carried out. Your Estate would then be distributed according to law which might be disastrous for your inherited beneficiaries.

What are Executors and do I need them for my Will?

Executors are people usually appointed in your Will to extract the Grant of Probate through the Probate Office. A Grant of Probate is needed so that the assets of the Estate can be collected and then distributed to the beneficiaries. Executors are needed for all Wills.

Do Executors appointed in my Will have any power to deal with my assets during my lifetime?

No. An Executor's powers only commence after death.

How can I protect my young children if I die?

By way of a Trust which can be tailored to their needs at your direction.

Are there any tax implications for a Trust?

Yes there are and we would be happy to advise you on this important but complex area.

Who else can be protected by a Trust?

Anyone whom you feel may need protection,

e.g. anyone under the age of eighteen years (note that minors cannot hold land);

a person over eighteen who is incapable of managing their own affairs;

a mentally incapacitated person;

an elderly person.

How long does the Grant of Probate take to issue?

There are 2 steps to take before a Grant can be extracted:-

1. An Inland Revenue Affidavit must be sworn and delivered to the Revenue Commissioners.

2. The original Will and other documents must be lodged in the Probate Office.

The minimum period to extract a Grant would be six months approximately, but may take much longer depending on the circumstances and complexity of the Estate.

As an Executor, am I liable to pay any bills from my own pocket?

No. The Estate should bear the costs of any bills relating to the Estate. An Executor would be entitled to be refunded from the Estate for any expenses properly incurred in discharging his duties in relation to the Estate.

What if there is a house, but no other assets, ie money. How are bills to be paid?

There is no straight answer. Possible solutions include selling the property, or raising a mortgage. These and other solutions depend upon the circumstances of each case, consent of beneficiaries etc.

Is there any time limit for bringing a claim?

Yes. There are varying time limits for different types of cases which are strictly enforced. A word of caution. You should seek legal advice as soon as you believe that you may have a claim. Don't delay. Better to be safe than sorry!

Is it expensive to pursue a debt claim?

It depends on the sum claimed, complexity of the case and status of the Court used, i.e. District, Circuit or High Court.

What constitutes a nuisance?

Any act which tends to interfere with your comfort, e.g. noise or smoke

If my neighbour encroaches upon my land, is there anything I can do?

Yes, but this is a complex area of law, and advice should be obtained as soon as possible.

Does my employer have to give me maternity pay?

Possibly. It depends on the circumstances and terms of your employment.

If I'm refused a job due to my religion, can I claim?

Again, possibly. It depends on all the circumstances of the case.

What is litigation?

Litigation is the process in which disputes are dealt with by the Courts.

What is civil litigation?

Civil litigation means litigation between individuals or companies and means litigation without a criminal aspect. All civil litigation is conducted in the civil courts. In Ireland these Courts are The District Court, The Circuit Court, The High Court and The Commercial Court.

What are Title Documents?

Title Documents set out who the registered owner of the land or property is. It also gives details of any burdens registered on the property, i.e. right of ways/life interests or mortgages.

What is stamp duty?

Stamp duty is a tax charged on the document that is used in the transfer of the property and it is paid by the purchaser.

What stamp duty reliefs are available?

As a general rule, the following property transactions are exempt from stamp duty:

  • Transfers of property between spouses and civil partners
  • Transfers of property between former spouses/civil partners under a Court Order following a divorce or the dissolution of a civil partnership
  • Transfers of property by a cohabitant to his/her cohabitant under a property adjustment order.

What is a BER Certificate?

A BER Certificate or building energy rating certificate is compulsory for all homes and commercial properties being sold or rented regardless of the age of the building. A BER Certificate is a rating of the overall energy efficiency of a building.

What is Ground Rent?

There are many ways you can hold an interest in property. The two main types of ownership of property are leasehold and freehold.

Leasehold interest in a property means that you own just the building subject to a lease and you do not own the land on which the building is built. If you own a leasehold property, you must pay a ground rent to your landlord because he or she owns the ground on which the building is built. The amount of ground rent paid varies and is set out in the original Lease.

Freehold interest in a property means that you own the land and the buildings (if any) on the land. There is no ground rent.

You can buy out ground rent both privately with the Landlord or/and through the Ground Rents Purchase Scheme.

How long does a Divorce take?

Between 6 and 9 months if uncontested, longer if contested.

How much does a Divorce cost?

If uncontested, it is cheaper. We will discuss the likely costs involved with you at the outset.

What is the most effective method of separating?

A Separation Agreement. Terms to be agreed between both parties' solicitors.

What is the difference between a legal separation and a divorce?

There is no final order with a legal separation, so you are not free to remarry. When you are divorced, you are free to remarry.

What are the basic requirements for a Divorce?

You must have been living apart for 4 of the 5 preceding years. There is no reasonable prospect of a reconciliation and the Court must be satisfied that proper financial provision has been made for the spouse and the children.

What Orders can I ask the Court to make?

Upon an application to the Court, Orders may be made relating to:

  • The family home
  • Children
  • Maintenance (financial provision)
  • Any other property owned
  • Pension rights
  • Succession rights i.e. inheritance

What is the tax free threshold for gifts and inheritances from parents to their children?

The current Group A tax free threshold, which applies mainly to gifts and inheritances from parents to their children, is €280,000.

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