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 simplifies the distribution of your assets and prevents the fate of your estate being determined by the rules of intestacy. Failure to have a valid will has often led to beneficiaries receiving bequests solely by virtue of being related in blood to the deceased when in reality this may not have been the deceased person’s wish. This in turn has led to family disputes and ultimately lengthy and expensive court proceedings

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 in order to ensure that proper legal and tax advice can be given. Your Solicitor 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.

We at Berwick Solicitors, have many years’ experience in wills and estate planning and have dedicated Solicitors who specialises this area. We understand that drafting a will or planning your estate, is one of the most important tasks in your life. Because we are specialists, we can guide you through every step of the process. Please see our testimonials to find out what our clients say.

To consider when making a will:

There are a number of points you should consider when making a will. A spouse may seek what is called their legal right share of an estate, if the feel they weren’t sufficiently provided for under the terms of the will. This can vary from between a third to half of your estate depending on whether there are children to the marriage. Similarly, a child may make a claim against the estate on the basis that the parent failed in their moral duty to make proper provision for the child. If not addressed properly at the time of preparing the will, this can result in lengthy legal proceedings that diminish the overall value of the estate

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 33%. There are however exemptions thresholds depending on the relationship between the Testator and the beneficiary;

Class A – Parent to Child – There is a exemption €320,000.00 before a liability arises
Class B – Other lineal relatives (brothers, sisters, Niece/Nephews – There is an exemption of €32,500.00 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

If you require assistance to plan your estate, please contact Ronan Murphy at ronanmurphy@berwick.ie.