Probate and Estate Administration – Estate Tax Planning Solicitor Northern Ireland
The administration of an Estate following the death of a relative or close friend can be a painful and daunting task.
We have a team of sympathetic and expert lawyers to assist you. We have invested considerable effort in our work systems to ensure that matters are dealt with swiftly and efficiently.
We are always pleased to provide an estimate of our charges – which are based upon time spent working on each case and not as with many solicitors upon a percentage value of the estate.
The process is generally known as administration of an estate.
If the deceased died leaving a Will the application for a Grant of Probate is made and if there is no Will the process is carried out on the basis of “intestacy”.
Administration falls into the following main stages:-
Generally speaking the following preliminary steps are taken:-
- Identify whether there is a valid Will in existence
- If so whether it contains any requests in relation to the funeral
- Register the death – normally this must be done within 7 days and funeral arrangements may not be finalised until this has been done.
- Collect together the deceased’s papers and establish details of the assets/liabilities and income of the deceased
We will communicate with asset holders (such as banks) and verify the financial position. At this time the deceased’s assets (save for joint accounts which pass automatically to the surviving holder) are frozen.
We will write to any beneficiaries named in the Will or if there is no Will make enquiries as to the order of relatives entitled to benefit from the estate under the Intestacy Rules. The “Will Reading” legendary of crime thrillers is largely a myth!
The Executor’s legal authority derives from the Will and an Order of the Court known as a “Grant of Probate”.
Where there is no Will, the Administrator’s authority derives from an Order of the Court known as a “Grant of Letters of Administration”.
Asset holders will (save in the case of very small Estates) decline to distribute assets without having sight of the Grant.
In order to apply for a Grant the Executor/Administrator must swear an Oath (exhibiting the original Will and any Codicil where those exist). The Oath will also verify the value of the Estate – and the application must be accompanied by an Inheritance Tax Return. We will calculate and advise as to any liabilities for Inheritance Tax.
Once the Grant has been issued by the Probate Registry the distribution of the Estate can commence and the following are amongst the issues that may need to be considered.
- Realising monies held in bank accounts, etc.
- Deciding whether certain assets should be sold or distributed between beneficiaries without being sold and their value taken into account in respect of any beneficiaries entitlement
- Consider making “Section 27 advertisements”:-
- These protect Executors from claims by unknown creditors of the Estate who emerge after the Estate has been distributed (otherwise an Executor may be personally liable to pay these sums).
- Agree with the Revenue Authorities the income tax/capital gains tax position at death (filing tax a return where necessary).
- Ensure that there has been no under or over payment of income to the deceased at the date of death. Claims for recoupment of state benefits allegedly overpaid are becoming increasingly common and a knowledge of the benefits system is needed to deal with those.
Once “clearance” has been gained from the tax authorities and the time limits required pursuant to the Section 27 Notices have expired the Estate may be distributed. In large Estates where an administration is protracted for some reason we may advise an earlier “interim” distribution.
- We will prepare Estate Accounts verifying the assets in the Estate, all income received during the administration period and all payments made out for payment of debts, tax and distribution to the beneficiaries.
- The position if an Estate becomes disputed perhaps because a claim as to a Will’s validity or a claim from a disappointed dependent (see separate detailed note).
- Beneficiaries will sometimes wish to re-arrange the distribution of an Estate amongst themselves – for a variety of reasons including tax mitigation on their own estates. This is known as a “Deed of Variation”.
- We will provide residuary beneficiaries with a tax certificate IR185E1. to enable them to account to the Revenue for any tax due on income received from the Estate
- We are able to advise and assist as to the formation and administration of Trusts arising from Wills
- We are able to assist beneficiaries with a review of their affairs including a financial review, review of your tax situation and appropriate revision of your Will and Lasting Power of Attorney (see separate note).
Born in Donegal, Lisa was educated at Falcarragh Community School. She graduated from Trinity College Dublin in 2007 with a degree in Law (LLB). In 2008, Lisa graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a Masters Degree in Law. Her dissertation was focused on public interest law and was supervised by Gerard Whyte B.L. and Gerard Hogan, now Advocate General of the European Court of Justice.
Lisa graduated from Queen’s University Belfast with a certificate in professional legal studies in 2010 and was admitted to the Roll of Solicitors in Northern Ireland in 2010. She was then admitted to the Roll of Solicitors in the Republic of Ireland in 2015.
Lisa sits on the Board of Governors of St Matthew’s Primary School. She has also participated on the Young Professionals on Arts Boards programme and was previously on the Board of Trustees of Aware NI.
Lisa has a special interest in conveyancing, as well as probate and administration of estates.
Educated at St Colman’s College in Newry, Kevin graduated from University College Dublin in 1982 with a degree in Law (BCL).
He graduated from Queen’s University Belfast with a Certificate of Professional Legal Studies in 1984 and was admitted to the Roll of Solicitors in Northern Ireland in 1984. He was later admitted to the Roll of Solicitors in the Republic of Ireland in 1992, as well as in England and Wales in 2008. He qualified as a Solicitor Advocate in 2013. He is also a certified Mediator.
Kevin has worked at Donnelly Neary & Donnelly since he was admitted to the Roll in 1984 and has been a partner in the firm since 1988.
Kevin is a Notary Public, and is currently the President of the College of Notaries in Northern Ireland. He is also a Trusts and Estates Practitioner (TEP) of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) and a member of the NI Commercial Property Lawyers Association. Kevin currently acts as Treasurer for the Irish Legal History Society and is Deputy Chair of the Statutory Committee for the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland.
Kevin has experience in all areas of practise; however, Kevin specialises in commercial property, as well as in general conveyancing, trusts and wills.
Daniel was educated at the Abbey Grammar School in Newry. He then went on to study Law (LLB) at Queen’s University Belfast, graduating in 2014.
He graduated from the Institute of Professional Legal Studies, Queen’s University Belfast, with a Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Legal Studies and was admitted to the Roll of Solicitors in Northern Ireland in 2016.
Daniel is the fourth generation of the Neary family in the firm.
Daniel has a particular interest in immigration law. He also has experience in conveyancing and civil litigation.
Michael graduated in law with LLB Hons from Queens University Belfast in 1985 He works with JPHLAW as well as being the Principal of Campbell & Grant in Newry.
Michael’s legal expertise includes conveyancing, criminal law, commercial property acquisition, sales development, residential property development, licensing, planning, trusts, inheritance tax, wills and estates both in Northern Ireland and in the Republic of Ireland.
Brendan Hagan LLB graduated from Queen’s University in 1973 with a BA Honours Degree in Modern History.
Brendan commenced practising as a Solicitor in 1978 and completed his apprentice with John P Hagan.
Brendan specialises in Criminal, Matrimonial and employment law and is a Solicitor Advocate and a member of the Children Order Panel.
Brendan has acted in a number of high profile criminal cases as well as Public Enquiries.
Kate Ervine graduated from Queen’s University and completed her degree in Law & Accountancy in 2006 and Trust & Estate Administration in 2009.
Kate was formerly employed by two provincial firms before joining the practice in August 2007. Kate specialises in Conveyancing, Administration of Estates; contentious Probate; Will drafting; Agricultural law and Taxation. Kate is a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners.
Educated at St Joseph’s Grammar School Donaghmore, Kathryn graduated from Queen’s University Belfast in 2002 with a degree in Law and Politics (LLB).
Kathryn obtained a Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice with Distinction from Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne in 2003.
In 2005 Kathryn was admitted as a Qualified Solicitor in Northern Ireland, England and Wales.
Kathryn worked in our Portadown office JPH Law in 2018 and later moved to our Dungannon office Simmons Meglaughlin & Orr.
Kathryn is a multifaceted general practice Solicitor who specialises in Property, Probate and Wills. She also practices in Matrimonial Law, Children’s Law, Personal Injury and General Litigation.
Sean Hagan LLB Dip Law (Tax) graduated from Queen’s University and has practiced as a Solicitor since 1968.
Sean purchased the firm of PM Cullen & Co., and commenced trading as John P Hagan Solicitor in 1976. Sean specialises in Planning and Licensing and receives referrals from other Solicitors in Planning matters.
Sean is a member of the Royal Institute of Town Planning, is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. Sean served the community for many years on the local Council and as the firm’s Senior Partner.