No one wants to think about what will happen to their property after their death. Although perfectly understandable, it means that over half the Irish population die without making a will. When this happens, the law prescribes how your estate is divided and your wishes are of no consequence.
Mulroy and Company Solicitors highly recommend that you make a will providing for the division of your assets after your death for the following reasons;
1. You can provide for those you wish to benefit.
2. You can provide for the guardianship and welfare of your minor children and/or dependants.
3. By taking adequate tax advice, you can minimise the Capital Acquisitions Tax payable by those who take inheritances from you.
4. You may eliminate emotional difficulties for your beneficiaries and give them certainty regarding their future.
5. It will cost less to administer your estate.
UPDATING YOUR EXISTING WILL
You may already have a will but circumstances change and it will often be the case that the will you previously made no longer expresses your wishes. This might be because of the loss of a spouse or someone else close to you. You may have sold your property or changed your living arrangements. If that is the case, you should consult your solicitor to update your earlier will or make a new one.
TYPES OF LEGACIES
There are three main types of legacies which you may provide for in your will.
A pecuniary legacy is a specified sum of money determined when the Will or codicil is written.
A specific legacy is when a particular item of value is bequeathed. This can include stocks and shares, proceeds of a life insurance policy, property, furniture or jewellery.
A residuary legacy is the gift of the residuary of your estate, or a share of the residue. This is the portion of your estate left after the bequests to your family and friends have been made and after all debts, taxes and expenses have been paid.
WHAT IS A TRUSTEE?
In some situations, a person making a will (testator) may wish to leave assets to a person under the age of 18 years. In this case, the property may be given to a third party to hold it in trust for the minor child until such time as s/he reaches the age of 18 or some later age which the testator may specify.
This third party is called a Trustee and s/he will manage the trust property until such time as the assets are passed on to the beneficiary.
WHAT IS A GUARDIAN?
If you have children under the age of 18 years, it is important that you appoint a Guardian to care for them in the event of you passing away. The Guardian is the person who cares for the child on a day to day basis and makes decisions in relation to all aspects of their upbringing, schooling etc. The Guardian takes over the role of the parent in the event of the parent passing away.
Note – In many cases the Guardians and the Trustees may be the same.
INFORMATION YOUR SOLICITOR WILL NEED
Making a will is a relatively simple procedure and your will can be drafted for you by your solicitor. When you visit your solicitor, you should bring the following information with you;
1. Details of the value of your estate including details of what property you own, where the property deeds are held and details of your accounts with financial institutions and life insurance policies.
2. The full names and addresses of the people whom you wish to leave benefits to.
3. Full name and address of any charities which you may wish to leave benefits to.
4. The name of at least one person (preferably two) who will look after your estate on your death. This is your Executor.
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?
The cost of making your will may be much less than you think. The cost will depend on the complexity of your will. Mulroy and Company Solicitors will be happy to assist you in making your will. Please CONTACT US to make an appointment at our offices at 4, University Road, Galway City or at a mutually convenient alternative location.