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DIY Probate?

  • 27-01-2022 9:52am
    Registered Users Posts: 786 ✭✭✭

    My father passed away in November, we have a copy of the will and everything is to be split 50/50 between myself and my brother.

    The family home is approx worth 400k (brother will be buying me out of to live in) and had approx 25k savings between bank and credit union.

    Is probate straightforward to take on ourselves, or is it advisable to get a solicitor to act on our behalf. We are both names as executors.

    No loans or outstanding bills.

    Is there a checklist of what's needed to be completed?

    Thanks in advance.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,268 ✭✭✭Lenar3556

    It quite possibly would be straightforward, and the probate office will assist you with what is required. If the circumstances were to prove more complicated, they may wish you to engage a solicitor.

    If you do decide to engage a solicitor, get some estimates in advance - you may find quite a variation in fees.

  • Registered Users Posts: 80,366 ✭✭✭✭Atlantic Dawn

    Sounds fairly straightforward, Will made, both executors, both only people named on will. Assuming no other siblings.

    Here's details or procedures

    I know people who have done it in the past, from memory here's a rough guide of what comes to mind...

    • Initially you should visit a bank and have a seperate bank account set up to which funds will be placed from all your fathers bank accounts, assets and should any legal bills or other require payment these can be made from this account. Funeral expenses may be part of this or legal expenses associated with the sale of the house.
    • I presume you have already registered the death, if not it needs to be done within 3 months of the death. Having a death certificate will be a requirement by most agencies and financial institutions to engage with them
    • Some Credit Unions will offer death benefit for their members, could be around €500/600, check this with them.
    • Check that he had no life insurance or private pension policies which there may be a value associated with.
    • You will need to get the house valued by an estate agent and then when house sold to your bother who will give you 50% of this value. Seperate solicitor is needed for seller and buyer, not exactly sure how this works here as your brother is technically both, I assume he has one, you have one.
    • You may need to inform Revenue of the amounts received, procedure for this is online.

  • Registered Users Posts: 786 ✭✭✭SQ2

  • Registered Users Posts: 25,232 ✭✭✭✭coylemj

    I have done personal probate, I agree with most of what Atlantic Dawn says above, except these two ....

    1. I wouldn't go near Citizen's Advice for any topic that is catered for by an agency with direct responsibility in that area. In this case, the Courts....
    2. Revenue will be part of the process of Personal Probate, you don't need to initiate contact with them yourself.

    Get multiple copies of the death cert, they don't cost much and will help you deal with financial institutions.

    For banks and other financial institutions, you need to adopt a formal approach and have your homework done or they will give you the cold shoulder, especially with the type of staff (trainees & part timers) that are in branches these days. Make out a letter stating that the deceased has an account in this branch and that he left a will which names you as executor. Ask then to freeze the account i.e. suspend all standing orders and direct debits and you want a statement as to the balance in the account(s). Go into the bank with the death cert. and the original will. Hand over that letter and death cert. and invite the official to take a photocopy of the will. Make it clear that you want the statement there and then. Because if you walk out the door without it, you will hear nothing. They are used to dealing with solicitors for probate so you need to act like you know what you're about - don't let them fob you off. And don't dress down, wear something reasonably formal. I wore a business suit and it definitely made a difference with bank officials.

    You say you have 'a copy of the will'. I assume the original is with a solicitor. If you're going to do personal probate, you need to get your hands on the original.

    Personal Probate saves money on solicitors but if the house is going to be bought out by your brother, it might make sense to bundle probate and the sale of the house into one transaction. Talk to the solicitor who has the will, see if you can negotiate a deal which keeps the costs to a reasonable level. But make it clear that personal probate is an option.

  • Registered Users Posts: 786 ✭✭✭SQ2

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