Did you know that only 3 in 10 Irish people have a Will?
Furthermore, according to surveys carried out by mylegacy.ie, only one fifth of 35-44 year olds have had their will drafted. This statistic is quite surprising as this demographic is usually beginning to settle down, buy property and have children.
As a nation we are superstitious when it comes to addressing the idea of death and avoid addressing it at all costs. But WHY should we make it our priority to have a will drafted?
Firstly, if a will is made it is YOUR decision how your assets are divided and who is responsible for organising your affairs (“the Executors”). You may also have certain wishes to be adhered to or people in mind outside the family who you wish to benefit from your assets. On the other hand if no will and a person dies the assets will be divided equally between their next of kin. If no beneficiaries are located it will ultimately pass to the State.
Secondly, you will be making the process easier for your family to deal with. If there is no will there is a huge amount of uncertainty in dealing with your estate and those dealing with your assets will be guided by the Succession Act 1963. It must be noted that it normally takes a shorter length of time for a Grant of Probate to issue (where there is a will) as opposed to where there is an intestacy situation (where there is no will).
Thirdly you can reduce the amount of Capital Acquisitions Tax (“CAT” or Inheritance Tax) due to Revenue on your death. Both you and your solicitor can discuss your particular circumstances and decide how to best approach the drafting of the will so as to make it as tax efficient as possible. This will effectively ‘free up’ monies payable from your estate to Revenue. As the rate of CAT is currently 33% after the tax free threshold is exceeded it is vital that your will is as tax efficient as possible. This is especially important for those who own businesses or farms who want to minimise their liability to Revenue. Your solicitor can advise you on the applicability of business and agricultural relief.
Fourthly if you have young children you will need to address who you wish to appoint as trustees and guardians. It is possible to create a trust in your will to provide financial support for children and those you support with disabilities. You may also wish to appoint guardians to look after your children. This is important as the situation can arise where a parent dies and the other parent has predeceased or where both parents die at the same time. If you do not appoint guardians the Court may step in and appoint someone you would not have chosen as a guardian.
Fifthly it can be beneficial to see your estate laid out in black and white: it can assist you in evaluating any area that needs to be addressed such as the necessity to take out an insurance policy to cover the beneficiaries tax liabilities that may arise as a result of benefiting under your estate. You may also decide to increase the number of Executors, Trustees or Guardians you appoint.
It is important to note that you will need to amend your will if any of your personal circumstances change, for example:
- if your financial circumstances change;
- if the Executors are no longer in a position to act;
- if you go through a separation, divorce or your spouse dies;
- if one of your minor children has reached the age of majority and you would like to appoint them as guardians of your younger children.
A change in the tax regime may also have a knock on effect for your estate.
Whether you only have a small amount of assets or own a business or a farm you will see that it is highly important to address the situation before it is too late.
If you would like more infomation on drafting your will please call the office on 071 91 45928 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.