Republic of Ireland Law
Republic of Ireland Law Questions Answered by Experts
1. Dear Customer, it is only the residuary legatee which has an automatic right to a copy of the will. If there are more than one residuary legatee, then each of the residuary legatees is entitled to a copy of the will. Otherwise, if there are disgruntled children, the child must be told whether they are a beneficiary under the will. Otherwise, anyone else will have to wait until the will is admitted to probate, when it becomes a public document and can be examined in the Probate Office when it has been admitted to probate.
2. However, I would suggest that if you are the executor, that you arrange a reading of the will. This is not mandatory under law. However, it has the effect of making everyone aware of what the contents of the will are. Then whoever wishes, can take whatever action they may wish. There is little point in attempting to stave off a challenge to the will by restricting information. This only has the effect of encouraging unmeritorious claims as rumour and innuendo abount.
3. Be aware that potential challenges to a will are limited. Unless there is something wrong with the execution of the will, which there was not in this instance, challenges can only arise in relation to the distribution of gifts under the will. So, here, the disgruntled family members have a narrow range of potential challenges. Once they get legal advice, they will realise this. So, I would suggest you request that these people seek legal advice, as this dampens down the range of potential challenges.
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5. You should be aware that there is no legal pre-requisite for lodging a caveat. Anyone can enter a caveat without showing any proper legal grounds. The onus is then on the executor to apply to strike out the caveat. Then the court adjudicates upon the validity of the caveat. So, if a caveat has been lodged, you will have to instruct a solicitor and barrister to bring an action to strike it out. Be aware that the executor is allowed to take his legal costs from the estate, if the court does not award them against the losing party.
6. Ultimately, the court will award costs on the basis of whether the court considers it was proper to enter a caveat against the will. Here, the issue of the claimants being disgruntled children should be raised. Be aware that their bequest from the will can be used to discharge legal costs if they are awarded against them.