A person who dies having made a Will is said to die testate. The Will names the person chosen by the deceased to manage his/her affairs. This person is called the executor or executrix and it is this person who distributes the deceased’s worldly goods after their death. These goods will be handed over to the deceased’s beneficiaries named in the Will.
A person who dies without having made a Will is said to have died intestate. The next-of-kin of the deceased (usually a wife, child, parent or sibling) may apply for permission to manage the affairs and distribute the assets amongst those persons legally entitled to inherit. This person is called the administrator or administratrix.
Probate comes from the word ‘probare’ which means to prove. When a person dies his or her executor (where there is a Will) or administrator (where there is no Will) must apply to the Probate Office to prove the Will and in doing so satisfies the High Court that he or she is the person legally entitled to administer the estate of the deceased.
Administering the estate involves gathering in the assets of the deceased which can include money in financial institutions, shares, insurance policy proceeds and property. It involves paying off the debts and funeral expenses and inheritance tax, and distributing the remainder of the estate amongst the beneficiaries named in the Will or, if there is no Will then the next-of-kin who are legally entitled to a share of the estate.
Taking on the role of executor or administrator of a Will involves first and foremost acting in a fiduciary capacity. This means honouring the wishes of the deceased, acting honestly, in good faith according to the law of the land and in the best interests of the beneficiaries. Managing the estate of a deceased person is time consuming and involves a lot of paperwork.
The role of the executor or administrator includes but is not limited to: -
- Ensuring the funeral arrangements are put in place.
- Locating, reading and understanding the Will.
- Identifying the beneficiaries.
- Making an inventory of all assets.
- Deciding if probate is necessary and commencing the procedure.
- Notifying financial institutions, credit card companies, utility companies, insurance company and all relevant persons.
- Notifying the beneficiaries of the Will or the next-of-kin if there is no Will.
- Securing and protecting the assets while they are under your control.
- Obtaining the Grant of Probate or Administration from the Probate Office.
- Collecting all funds belonging to the deceased or owed to the estate.
- Paying off all debts funeral testamentary expenses.
- Distributing the estate.
We, at Michael G. Bohan & Co. Solicitors have the experience and qualifications to handle any complications and are focused on getting the job done quickly in order to remove as much stress and anxiety as possible.
You should note that no solicitor/client relationship or duty of care or liability of any nature shall exist or be deemed to exist between Michael G. Bohan & Co. Solicitors and you until you have received a written letter of engagement from us in which we confirm our appointment as your Solicitors.