Probate law in Ireland has a few common misconceptions and assumptions surrounding it. But one of the most important questions is how much does probate cost in Ireland?
Let’s take a look at what probate is defined as in Ireland, whether you need it, and the costs involved:
What is probate?
Probate is a legal process that gives someone the right to handle the estate of a person who has passed away. It is important to note though that probate is not always required after a person has died.
The probate process in Ireland requires someone to make an application to the District Probate Registry or the national Probate Office. If successful, the Office will send a legal document called a Grant of Representation.
This document is only issued if the Probate Office is content that the will is valid. If there is no will, you need to apply for a different kind of Grant of Representation (called a Grant of Administration). Once you have the document, you have the right to distribute the assets of the person who has died.
Do I need probate?
Probate is not always needed following a death in Ireland. You will need probate if the deceased person owned significant amounts in terms of:
- Property – if the person who has died owned property in their sole name or as tenants in common.
- Assets – if the person who has died owned notable assets in their sole name or in common.
- Joint accounts – in some cases, even if the co-owner is alive, probate might be needed to distribute funds from a joint bank account.
As you can see, this list does not include any reference to whether or not the person who has passed away left a will.
There are circumstances where you will need to go through the probate process for a person who has left a will. Equally, you might not need to go through the probate process for someone who did not leave will.
What a will does is ensure that only the people whom the deceased person trusted most (those they named as executors of their will) can apply for probate and get that Grant of Representation.
How much does an estate have to be worth to go to probate in Ireland?
You won’t need probate in Ireland if the deceased person had what is commonly called a “small estate”. Unfortunately, there isn’t a set limit for what constitutes a small estate.
Individual banks and financial institutions set their own rules for this. And, because they control when or if they require a Grant of Representation before releasing a deceased person’s funds to someone else, the bank the deceased person used largely decides whether their estate is “small” or not.
However, a common rule of thumb for what constitutes a “small estate” is €25,000. Anything less than that is commonly not subject to probate. It is worth checking with the bank in question though as some set different thresholds.
How much does probate cost in Ireland?
Probate fees are levied at the following rates based on the net value of the estate in question. Be aware though that these are rates for personal applications. Probate fees are significantly cheaper in Ireland if a probate solicitor makes them on your behalf.
- Estate valued at less than €100 000 – €200
- Estate valued at less than €250 000 – €400
- Estate valued at less than €500 000 – €700
- Estate valued at less than €750 000 – €1000
- Estate valued at less than €1 000 000 – €1300
If the estate is valued at more than €1 000 000, the fee goes up by €800 for every further €500 000 in value.
Do I need a solicitor to handle probate in Ireland?
Again, it’s worth noting that those fees listed above are personal application fees. Using a probate solicitor to handle probate in Ireland reduces those fees by half.
This means that using a solicitor is a smart move in some probate cases, depending on the complexity of the case and the size of the estate (that is to say, whether the money saved on fees will be greater than any fees the solicitor might charge).
There are also situations where Irish law requires that you use a solicitor for probate. For example, if there are disputes amongst the next of kin or if the person who should apply for probate is of unsound mind.
Apart from that, a probate solicitor adds value in that they can provide professional legal advice where you need it. This can start from the beginning, advising you on how much probate costs in Ireland – often before you need to pay any fees whatsoever.
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