Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQ

What is embalming?

Embalming, in most modern cultures, is the art and science of temporarily preserving human remains to forestall decomposition and to make them suitable for public display at a funeral. The four goals of embalming are thus sanitisation, conservation, presentation and preservation (or restoration) of a corpse to achieve this effect.

Who should I inform of the death?

The next of kin, GP and the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages should be informed immediately. Most people die of natural causes, however if the death is sudden and unexpected, the Gardaí and the Coroner may need to be informed. At a later stage you will need to inform the Department of Social and Family Affairs, if the person who died was getting a social welfare payment, or was a dependent on another person’s payment. You should also inform relevant insurance companies.

Who has to register the death?

If the death occurred at home, the next of kin or nearest relative present at the death must register the death by bringing a Medical Certificate of cause of death to the appropriate Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages, usually within 5 days. The appropriate Registrar is determined by where the death took place, not where the deceased lived. The deceased’s family doctor (GP) normally issues the medical certificate, but it can be any doctor. The hospital usually registers the death if the death happened in hospital Deaths referred to the County or City Coroner are registered when the Registrar receives a certificate of the post-mortem examination or inquest from the Coroner.

What is the role of the funeral director/undertaker?

They will deal all arrangements regarding the burial or cremation, including organising the burial plot, newspaper notices and religious services if you wish. They can also organise transport of the deceased and mourners, help with arrangements for the church service, liaising with those involved in these arrangements, e.g. florists etc. They will also assist you to obtain any documentation necessary both before and after the funeral. The Irish Association of Funeral Directors have drawn up a The Code of Cremation Practise that explains what you can expect from any one of their members.

Wills and Tax FAQ

Who deals with the will?

Generally, the person named in a will as executor has the job of dealing with the terms of the will and taking out probate. There may be more than one executor. If no executor has been appointed, or if the named executor does not wish to act, an administrator may be appointed.

What is the procedure if the deceased didn’t make a will?

If there is no will the next of kin can apply to the Probate Office for a grant of representation.

What are your rights as a spouse where there is a will?

If there is a will Where there are no children, you are entitled to one half of the estate; Where there are children, you are entitled to one third of the estate. The children are not necessarily entitled to the rest.

What are your rights as a spouse where there is no will?

If there is no will:Where there are no children, you are entitled to the entire estate; Where there are children, you are entitled to two thirds, one third is divided equally between the children (if a child has already died, his/her children take a share).

Will I have to pay inheritance tax?

If your inheritance is from your spouse it is exempt from Inheritance Tax (Capital Acquisitions Tax). Otherwise, depending on your degree of relationship with the deceased, there are certain thresholds above which CAT is payable:
Children and grandchildren under 18: €441,198
Brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces, grandchildren: €44,120
Others: €22,060
These figures relate to the tax year 2003, in which tax is payable on the balance at 20%. The family home is exempt from CAT where the person who inherits it has lived there for at least the previous 3 years and has no other house. They must own and reside in the house for six years after inheriting it.