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Stuck at Sale Agreed - probate issue

  • 14-12-2021 11:11am
    Registered Users Posts: 1,709 ✭✭✭ Sebastian Dangerfield

    We went sale agreed on a house in early August. When we went to view the house, the EA told us that the previous owner had passed away, the probate had been filed but due to COVID related delays, probates were taking up to 3 months to complete, so we started planning for an early-mid November close date. The vendors solicitors took until end September to produce contracts, which were signed by both parties in early October, subject to completion of the probate. We then were advised by our solicitor that the probate had "only just been filed" - I should have pressed for more on that which I didn't - but that if both sides sent a letter to the probate office confirming contracts were signed, it could be turned around inside 8 weeks.

    We have had absolutely no information since then (week 10 now by my calcs). Both solicitors seem to be of the opinion that probate is what it is, and there is no point chasing it up. We ask for an update, our solicitor sends an "any update?" email to the other side; they reply with "we'll chase", followed by more silence. I've asked for phone calls to be made, which apparently go unanswered. Even my requests for confirmation that the mentioned letters had been sent fell on deaf ears, and I have since seen an email chain from our own solicitor indicating they forgot to do it for a month. We have already had to delay contractors, and will soon run into issues with our short term rental.

    Does anyone have any practical suggestions as to how we might push this along, or at least get some clarity on the probate status given we are not a party to it? I guess the answer is just to hassle the solicitors, but each time a specific question is asked, generic nothingness comes back. I check the probate website most days and probates have completed for deaths as recently as September, so it's quite frustrating to think this hasn't closed due to inaction on one or both solicitors side. I'm afraid to get too heavy with arguments, because unfortunately supply in the area is chronic and any bluffs we might try would be easily called.

    If it's a week, two, six, so be it, but the silence is starting to drive us around the bend. Any advice gratefully received!


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,206 ✭✭✭ endofrainbow

    There may be issues with the Grant of Probate of which none of the Solicitors can control. Getting heavy or hassling them won't speed up the process. All you can do is sit tight.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,709 ✭✭✭ Sebastian Dangerfield

    Thanks for the reply. Even to know that would be helpful though. I dont think its too much to ask for to get a status update, especially given the price we're paying - perhaps others may disagree.

    I have to be honest, in any other walk of life, if someone tells me "I'll check and get back to you", silence for 4 weeks until I follow up again is below par. Maybe these things work differently.

  • Registered Users Posts: 400 ✭✭ TobyHolmes

    maybe just say that to your solicitor - that you are getting anxious about this and if s/he could provide some clarity around the process and if there's anything that could be done to ascertain what stage this is at. asking "Could you provide some details" will hopefully prevent a generic response. Your solicitor will understand the frustration - its a stressful process.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,496 ✭✭✭ spaceHopper

    I would say that contracts were issued in bad faith as the impression was given that probate was in progress when in fact it hadn't started. You've been getting very poor communication from all sides including yours and this needs to improve immediately, you need a status up date on the sale with specific responses to the below questions

    At what stage is the probate.

    Have the probate office acknowledge receipt of the file.

    Have they looked at the file.

    Have they raised any questions.

    Will probate to granted before 31 Dec.

    If not what is a realistic date?

    Have all side checked that there are no other impediments to closing is all other paperwork in orders.

    If they send an generic holding answer resend in saying answer each and every question.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,279 ✭✭✭ mrslancaster

    TBF, solicitors are not the quickest and what you pay for the property doesn't really make any difference, they still need to make sure all the t's are crossed etc. It's in your own interest that they get everything exactly right - you don't want any problems in the future because things were rushed.

    Years ago when we bought our house we asked our solicitor to 'hurry things up' and she asked us what difference would a few extra weeks mean when we were spending a huge (to us) amount of money and would hopefully be living in the house for many years. She said we wouldn't thank her if any problems turned up at a later stage - she was right, but it is an awful limbo to be in.

    Nothing you can do really, beyond making contact frequently, and getting regular updates.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 414 ✭✭ Emma2019

    Once probate has be filed theres not a lot you can do. It takes between 8-12 weeks to complete. However if there is anything wrong with the submission (even a typo), it has to he resubmitted and it takes 8-12 weeks again. A friend of mine was buying a probate house and it had to be resubmitted twice due to typos. Took her about 9 months from sale agreed to keys.

    You used to be able to request to expedite because the property was being sold. I think that's still a possibility, but would have to be done when they submit it. If it's already in, there's nothing you can do.

    I'd still make sure to prod your solicitor though. Very few of them seem to be proactive when it comes to house purchases.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9 lesfingal

    Dangerfield I completely empathise with you as I am in a very similar situation. Your mention of chasing and seeking status followed by "radio silence" is identical to my experience. The delays are NOT in the order of 8-10 weeks, I am waiting 23 weeks for the probate to be granted that's delaying my purchase. They have refused to expedite probate as a property purchase is involved.

    By the way those who have suggested "sitting tight" clearly do not appreciate the stress that's involved in waiting.

    My advice don't touch a property that's subject to probate, either directly or indirectly.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,418 ✭✭✭ Wildly Boaring

    "I have to be honest, in any other walk of life, if someone tells me "I'll check and get back to you", silence for 4 weeks until I follow up again is below par. Maybe these things work differently."

    Struck a chord.

    It's a parallel universe. At one stage during our house purchase their solicitor went on 2 weeks holiday, then mine did, then theirs took another week. For the 5 weeks and maybe another 1, totalling 6, nothing at all happened!!!

    My solicitor was good. Returned my calls, pushed them along, ha cover for his 2 week break. But it was still like pulling teeth.

    Very strange profession

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,709 ✭✭✭ Sebastian Dangerfield

    7 weeks since my original post, and I'm none the wiser now than I was then!

  • Registered Users Posts: 9 lesfingal

    Neither am I after 23 weeks! No help from any quarter. The Probate Office will not deal with my enquiry referring me to the probate solicitor who's only notion of an update is "nothing's back yet". Three TDs have told me making representations is pointless. Can there be any other arm of the state that is allowed to behave in this manner?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,024 ✭✭✭ akelly02

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,709 ✭✭✭ Sebastian Dangerfield

    Nope, D13

  • Registered Users Posts: 245 ✭✭ Munstermissy

    Just been through probate process myself. 5 months to complete for a small estate. Probate office will not expedite process because of house sale. They will not answer phone/mail requests 🙄 ridiculous yes. You can check yourself if you have name of deceased and year of death on It will 9nly show up if probate has been granted

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,206 ✭✭✭ endofrainbow

    By the way those who have suggested "sitting tight" clearly do not appreciate the stress that's involved in waiting.

    There's stress involved in waiting for probate to be granted too you know.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,418 ✭✭✭ Wildly Boaring

    But the only options when buying in this country are to sit tight or give up.

    You can burst a blood vessel pressuring solicitors. But dies it achieve anything if 1 or both don't care.

    Then we have probate involved here. It takes time and cannot be expedited