Have you made a Will?
No-one wants to think about dying. However, if you die without leaving a Will, the State directs who inherits any property or money, so some of your relatives, friends, or favorite charities may get nothing.
The rules of inheritance are very strict, and make provision for spouses, children, and other blood relatives, in a strict order of priority set out in the Succession Act 1965.
A Will is also vital if you have children who might not be able to care for themselves, as your Will should contain details of how they are to be cared for in the event of your death. You should also strongly consider making a Will if you have a partner but are not married or in a registered civil partnership, as the Law does not recognize cohabitants as having the same rights as a husband or wife, and your partner could therefore be disregarded in Law upon your death.
If you are separated, but not yet divorced, then your spouse could inherit most of your estate, unless you make a Will to the contrary.
If you have no spouse or blood relatives at all, your entire estate may go to the Crown.
We recommend that all our clients consider making a Will, particularly if they have recently acquired property, or if their life circumstances have changed.
We are able to assist you in the preparation of your Will, and it is not expensive. An average Will after consultation can be provided for you at a modest cost, depending on complexity and the number of bequests you make. Many clients choose to store their original Wills here at our offices (free of charge) for safe-keeping.
If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us and ask to speak to one of our Solicitors – Philip White, Ruth McGartoll, Paul Johnson or Emer Sweeney.
Things to consider
- Who should benefit from your Will? And whom should that benefit pass to in the event of their death before yours?
- Funeral details – burial, or cremation? If your wishes are recorded in your Will this can save your family unnecessary worry.
- Your executors – these will be the people responsible for collecting in your estate (selling property, collating bank accounts etc.) and distributing it. This can involve a lot of work and you will have to choose people you consider adequately responsible. You should contact them now to ask whether they would be willing to act. You can appoint a professional executor, such as your Solicitor, who will usually deduct their professional costs for administering the estate from the estate proceeds.
- Guardians for any children. Again, it would be prudent to contact whoever you are planning to appoint as guardians now, to confirm they would be willing to act in this regard.
- The estimated value of your Estate, and any potential Inheritance Tax obligations. Anyone with assets in excess of the current capital taxation limits may wish to give consideration to tax planning to ensure that exposure to tax is kept to a minimum. Do you want to make a Enduring Power of Attorney? An EPA is a legal document that you (the Donor) make using a special form. It allows you to choose someone now (the Attorney) that you trust to make decisions on your behalf about things such as your property and financial affairs or health welfare at a time in the future when you no longer wish to make those decisions or you may lack the mental capacity to make those decisions yourself. An EPA can only be used after it is registered with the Office of the Wards of Court. We can advise on the creation and subsequent registration of a Enduring Powers of Attorney.
If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your requirements. Probate / Estate Administration After a person dies, the administration of their estate will involve either implementing the terms of the Will they have left, or, if they have not left a Will, dealing with the assets they have left under the intestacy rules. At such a distressing time we can assist by:
- Explaining the terms of the Will and how it affects you; or
- Explaining the intestacy rules
- Ascertaining the deceased’s assets and obtain property valuations
- Liaising with the Revenue Commissioners and file the necessary Return for Inheritance Tax purposes •Making the application to Court for the Grant of Probate (where a Will has been left) or Letters of Administration (where there is no Will)
- Arranging the clearance and sale of any properties and their contents
- Administering the estate, which will include the collation of any assets, the payment of any legacies and winding up the administration of the estate
- Preparing the final Estate Accounts for the approval of the Personal Representatives and issue the balance monies to the relevant parties Please contact us at an early stage to discuss how we could assist you with Probate issues – we are able to guide you through all parts of the process and will advise you of the likely costs involved before beginning any work.