Will & Probate
Wills and Probate is the area of law dealing with distribution of assets after a person’s death.
What is a Will?
A Will is a written legal document that sets out what you would like to happen to your possessions after you die. A Will simplifies the distribution of your assets and prevents the fate of your Estate being determined by the rules of intestacy. If you die without leaving a will, you die ‘Intestate’, meaning that your estate will be distributed between your surviving family members in the way that is set out in The Succession Act 1965 –
The making of a Will is something that is often overlooked or put on the long finger by people. Yet this is a vital document and the only way of ensuring that a person’s specific intentions are carried out. It also ensures that the future of those loved ones who are left behind is safeguarded. It is an area of law which is becoming ever more contentious and litigious as we move away from the traditional family base.
A Will is a complex document with several legal formalities which may have significant future tax implications. It is important to take advice from a solicitor in relation to the drafting of such a document to ensure that proper legal and tax advice can be given. Your Solicitor and Accountant will make you aware of all potential tax liabilities for loved ones prior to executing a Will so that you can distribute your estate in the most tax efficient manner.
A Valid Will
A will can only be considered valid if:
- It is made in writing.
- The person making the Will (the Testator) is over 18 years old, or has been married.
- The Testator has capacity to make a will.
- The Testator signs or marks the Will, at the end of the document, and acknowledges it in the presence of two witnesses.
- The Testator’s two witnesses also sign the Will in the presence of the Testator.
Neither of the Testator’s witnesses – or their spouses or civil partners – cannot receive anything in the Will. Gifts to them will not be effective.
It is also wise to consider the tax implication for the Beneficiaries of your Will. The applicable tax to gifts or inheritance is Capital Acquisitions Tax (CAT) which applies at a rate of 33%. There are however exemptions depending on the degree of the relationship between the Testator and the Beneficiary;
Class A – Parent to Child
There is an exemption €335,000 before a liability arises
Class B – Other lineal relatives (brothers, sisters, Niece/Nephews)
There is an exemption of €32,500 before a liability arises;
Class C – Any other person
There is an exemption of €16,250.
In addition to this, there are other reliefs that may apply depending on individual circumstances. Once full instructions have been received, a Will can be prepared to ensure tax efficiency and minimal liability for one’s family.
Berwick Solicitors have dedicated Solicitors who specialise in this area and have many years of experience in Wills and Estate Planning.
We understand that drafting a Will or Succession Planning for your estate, is one of the most important tasks in your life. Our specialists can guide you through every step of the process.
If you require assistance to plan your estate, please contact Ronan Murphy, John Callinan or Emer Mulry.
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