In Ireland, after a person dies his estate, including assets and debts, must be handled. The legal process that allows a person to handle the estate is called probate. The assets of the deceased include property and possessions, investments and money. The person who receives the authority to handle the estate in the form of a grant issued by the court will also be the executor of the will if the deceased has one.
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When a Grant of Probate is Needed
A grant is not always necessary to execute the estate of the deceased--for example, if the deceased left less than £5,000 or if the property of the deceased was jointly owned. In situations where the property is owned jointly, it will automatically pass to the co-owner. If, however, the deceased left more than £5,000 in his estate, owns property owned only in his name or has investments or insurance policies, a grant is needed to execute the estate.
Types of Grants
There are three types of grants that can be obtained to handle the estate of the deceased. If the deceased has left a will, the executor named in the will must apply for a grant of probate. If the deceased leaves a will, but an individual other than the executor is applying for the grant, she must obtain a grant of letters of administration with will annexed. If the deceased has not left a will, an administrator must obtain a grant of letters of administration.
What Happens to the Estate?
The estate of the deceased will first be used to pay debts and funeral expenses. If the deceased has left a will, the estate will be handled as indicated in the will. If the deceased has not left a will, the estate will be passed on according to the Succession Act of 1965.
Part VI of the Succession Act, 1965 explains who will receive the assets. For example, if the deceased was married but did not have children, the estate would go entirely to the spouse. Or if the deceased was not married and his parents were also deceased, the estate will go to his siblings. Finally, if the deceased does not have any relatives, the state will receive the assets of the estate.
Taxes on the Estate
A capital acquisitions tax may be owed on an inheritance depending on the amount received by a beneficiary. If a person inherits a house or residence, has been living in that house for at least three years prior to receiving the house, and remains in the house for six years after the inheritance, the person may be eligible for the dwelling-house relief tax credit. This tax credit relieves the beneficiary of having to pay the capital acquisitions tax. The executor of the estate is responsible for ensuring that the taxes are paid.
Grants are obtained from the Probate Office in Ireland. In order to obtain the grant, the individual must fill out an application and submit it along with a death certificate, a will if there is one, a copy of funeral expenses, and statements and details about assets and liabilities of the deceased. The Probate Office also keeps copies of probate documents and wills. In addition, the office processes court applications that deal with probate matters.
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