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Wills & probate

The handling of the deceased's money, land and possessions is a difficult task while grieving and we try to ensure it is completed without complication.


A will is a legal document which gives the wishes of the deceased. In order for a will to be valid it must meet all the following criteria:

  • Be made by a person who is 18 years old or over.
  • Be made voluntarily and without pressure from any other person.
  • Be made by a person who is of sound mind.
  • Be signed by the person making a will in the presence of two witnesses.
  • Be signed by the two witnesses. Witnesses cannot benefit from the will, or be married to one.

If the deceased left no will, you should talk to a solicitor.


Probate is often misunderstood and can conjure images of months of difficulty and delay in getting it resolved. This is not inevitable and frequently many acts of probate are very simple and easily completed, often within weeks.

Often, probate is not needed for particularly small estates.

In its most basic form, probate is a simple document issued by the Probate Registry. The document confirms the executor who has the right to wind up an estate of the person who has died. The executor is the person chosen in the Will to sort out the estate and make sure it goes to the people names in the Will.

The government's probate service has more information.


If the deceased was paying tax, the tax office needs to be informed of the death as soon as possible. The actions the tax office takes will depend on the circumstances.


Everything on this page is covered in greater details in the Citizens Advice Bureau website.