I have not been that surprised by the number of clients, friends and other contacts who have been trying to get themselves Irish passports. It is a practical action in this Brexit saga where nothing seems to make sense. A rumour spread throughout our family that a grandfather, who died long before the birth of me and my siblings, had come from Ireland but research concluded that, in fact, he came from Norfolk! Of course, it is not uncommon for an English estate to have an Irish element. The executors or administrators will need an Irish grant when a substantial Irish asset forms part of the estate – for example, a bank account containing more than 25,000 Euros. An Irish grant will also be needed when there is land or property or shares in Irish registered companies. In all but the most straightforward of cases, an Irish solicitor will need to be appointed to obtain the necessary grant.
It will probably be necessary to obtain a special copy of the English grant sealed and certified by the English Probate Registry for use by the Irish lawyers in their application. At Probaters, we have established links with Irish solicitors so we can assist executors and administrators in navigating the two systems. One common problem, arising in cases where there is no valid will, is a result of the inability of the Irish Probate Office to recognise an English divorce. There are solutions but they will add to the cost of administering the estate. If you have an Irish element in an estate you would like help with, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0845 034 7344.
Probate fee increase – the latest
The fees will not increase on 1st April. The Government have said that the necessary Order is subject to an approval motion in the House of Commons and it is only when that motion has been approved that the Order will be made; the effect of that Order will not be immediate, the new fees will come into force 21 days afterwards. The Government also states that the approval motion has not yet been scheduled.
This, in effect, will give many more executors and administrators an opportunity to beat the fee increase. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you want help with your application for grant of probate or letters of administration.
Mortgages for the elderly
It used to be fairly uncommon to find an estate of an older person where a mortgage was involved. That has changed in recent years with the advent of equity release and, over the last year or so, a new product has arrived under the name of RIO or retirement interest-only mortgages.
For the harried executor or administrator, this will mean yet another burden - liaising with the lender who will be keen to get repayment as soon as possible. An executor in this situation should consider instructing us to deal with the lender and, if necessary, negotiate a satisfactory outcome.