- How long will it take to prepare a will?
For a standard will, we will usually meet with the client to take instructions on the terms of the will. We will then prepare a draft will based on those instructions before arranging a second consultation to read through the terms of the will and make any changes if necessary, before executing that will. Obviously, if there is a particular urgency in preparing the will (e.g. you are due to go away or undergo an operation you are concerned), we aim to ensure that the will is prepared and executed as a matter of urgency.
The execution of the will needs to be witnessed by two independent witnesses (i.e. someone who is not a beneficiary under the will or the spouse of such a beneficiary) and we can provide two such independent witnesses in our office.
If you are unable to attend our office to instruct us on the terms of your will, we can make arrangements to meet you elsewhere, however there may be an extra fee to reflect the travel time involved.
- What should I do before the first consultation to draft a will?
You should ideally prepare a list detailing your assets and the location of those assets (e.g. bank accounts, the location of title deeds for a property, what company your pension). These details do not necessarily get included in your will, however, it is useful exercise to consider what assets you have when considering how to draft your will that best reflects your intentions. Furthermore, we recommend that such a list of your assets be kept somewhere safe where your eventual executor will be able to access itto assist them with administering your estate.
If you hold any joint assets, you should seek to determine whether you hold those assets as “joint tenants” or as a “tenancy in common”. A joint tenancy which commonly is used for spouses will mean that the asset vests in the survivor owner upon the death of the other joint tenant. It is important to identify if you do hold the property as a joint tenant if your intention is that the asset go to someone else other than the joint tenant upon your death as steps would need to be taken to end the joint tenancy first to ensure that your wishes in this regard are effective. A tenancy in common is more common if you own an asset with a non-relative and your interest will vest in your estate upon your death and not in the other owner. We can assist you in advising what documents you need to show to identify whether the asset is held as a joint tenant or tenancy in common.
- What happens if you do not execute a will?
If you do not have a will, your estate will be distributed in accordance with the state mandated rules of intestacy. It may be that you do not want your estate to go to those persons, so you need to take steps to execute a will providing otherwise. Furthermore, if you have minor children, we recommend that you nominate testamentary guardians in your will to look after your children after your death.
- Do you store the original will?
We are willing to store the original will in our safe for clients when we have drafted the will as part of the service we provide in preparing the will. We will provide you with a copy of the will for your record in such circumstances. You are of course entitled to take the original will at any time and if you do so, we advise that you ensure it is kept in a secure and safe location given the importance of the document.
We do not unfortunately as a rule agree to store the wills we have not had any involvement in preparing as our safe has a limited capacity.
- Why take out a grant from the Probate Office?
A grant from the probate office is needed in order to authorise the executor/administrator to deal with the estate of the deceased.
- Do I need to appoint solicitors to take out a grant of probate?
You are not required to appoint solicitors. However, depending on the complexity of the estate, obtaining a grant of probate may take a long period of time and involve a considerable amount of work. A solicitor specialising in probate practice will have extensive experience of extracting a grant and will ensure that the process is done correctly and as efficiently as possible.
If you do intend to extract a grant without using a solicitor, you will be responsible for ensuring the correct submission of the grant documents and the administration of the estate. We recommend you review the guidance materials for such personal applications on the website of the probate office before deciding whether you are comfortable in taking on this responsibility.
- How long will it take to obtain a grant of probate?
A straightforward grant typically takes some 6-12 months to complete. However, if the estate is made up of a large number of different assets or the assets are not entirely located in Ireland, it can take much longer to complete.