Applying for Probate in Ireland: Nine Things to Remember

In Ireland, if a person owns property and assets when they die, the executor of their estate must apply for a Grant of Probate to the Probate Office to divide up these assets according to the Deceased’s wishes. The property and assets cannot be divided up until the Grant of Probate is extracted. If a person dies without a will (intestate) a Grant of Letters of Administration is issued to the Deceased’s nearest next-of-kin at date of death, in accordance with the Succession Act 1965.

Recent figures from the Dublin Probate Office show that rejection rates for probate applications run between 50% and 70%, meaning the whole process can take much longer than necessary for both clients, solicitors and the Probate Office itself. Here we list a nine-point check list that may help in speeding up the process of application for a grant of probate.

  • Ensure appropriately trained staff are processing applications

Only fully trained probate staff should be handling probate applications within private practice, according to the Probate Office. During a recent webinar with Erin Research, John Glennon (Probate Officer), said he had seen cases where staff with little training had been processing and sending applications in, leading to errors and long backlogs in the issuing of grants.

  • Check papers before they are sworn

Ensure that all papers sworn by clients are checked before they leave your office. Any errors that may need to be corrected later will mean the client will have to come back into the office to re-swear a document, further adding to delays.

  • Be careful of excess and too little paper

Don’t send unnecessary documentation with an application, as this will have to be processed taking up valuable time. Likewise, ensure you have all the documentation required.

  • Seal, seal, seal

All bonds should be sealed and failure to do so is a common reason why an application may be sent back.

  • Watch the Mr., Mrs. & plurals

Ensure a bond is gender compliant. The Probate Office reports many bonds where a deceased male is referred to ‘she’ throughout and vice versa. Also a singular applicant may be referred to in the plural and vice versa.

  • Have you filled out the charitable bequest form?

For applications that contain a charitable legacy, a new electronic form entitled the ‘Charitable Bequest Form’, which replaces the existing PAS3 form must be filled out. The Probate Office needs to ensure that money that has been bequeathed to charities reaches its destination.

  • Have you remembered the death certificate?

Sometimes, a death certificate can be forgotten about among the paperwork. The Probate Office requires an original death certificate – copies will not be accepted.

  • Is your jurat affidavit correct?

The Probate Office reports numerous problems with jurat affidavits, which often see an application being queried. They recommend closely following the statutory instruments for swearing affidavits to overcome this issue.

  • Lawyer check

Ensure a solicitor reads over a probate application as a final check before it is sent to the Probate Office. This can catch many errors that might have been overlooked throughout the process and help with the application process itself.

The Probate Office is continually working towards reducing rejection rates to ensure a smoother process for all and allow executors and administrators to distribute a deceased person’s estate as quickly as possible.

If you would like to view Erin Research’s webinar with Probate Officer John Glennon visit https://www.erinresearch.ie/webinars/