Wills Frequently Asked Questions
What we’re asked the most.
Griffin Solicitor’s experienced and professional Probate team will advise clients in a confidential and sensitive manner on any area of probate law. If you ave any queries please browse our F.A.Q section below or contact our office directly and we will be to advise you in whatever way we can.
Why should I make a will ?
By making a will you decide who should look after your children (testamentary guardians) who will carry out your instructions (executor) and who will inherit your money and in the case of your children at what age they will obtain their inheritance (18 or 21 years).
What happens if I do not make a will?
If you do not make a will then your money and property will be distributed accordingly with the provisions of the Succession Act 1965, more on this is set out here. A specific person will not be appointed to look after your children (testamentary guardian) and ordinarily a member of your family will need to make an application to the District Court to be appointed as guardian of your children in these circumstances.
How much does it cost to make a will?
Please contact our office for a quote.
Important things to consider in making a will
- If you are married, it is important to consider your spouse legal right to a share of your estate. The Succession Act 1965 sets out that if you are married and have a child/children your spouse is entitled to one third of your estate on death. If you are married and do not have children, your spouse is entitled to one half of your estate. If you have provided a gift for your spouse in your estate but this gift is less that one third of the value of the estate your spouse can elect to take their gift or the share of the estate to which they are legally entitled.
- Children being properly provided for. A child does not have a legal entitlement to any set portion of a deceased parent’s estate. A child however can apply to the High Court for a portion of the estate. The High Court will assess if the child was properly provided for during the lifetime of the parent. An example of this is that if a child received an expensive college education and did not receive any inheritance this child could be considered to have been properly provided for in the lifetime of the deceased. Please see more on this topic It is notable that the costs of defending these applications will come out of the estate and may significantly decrease the value of the estate.
- Who should you appoint as your executors please see more on this topic
- Locating and organising your assets. It can be difficult for an executor to locate all the assets of a deceased person after death. It is advisable that you tell your executors you have appointed them as executors and tell them where you keep your paperwork in the event of your death.
- Internet legacy. In today’s ever-changing world where social media is commonly used you may want to consider what you would like to happen to your social media presence after your death. You might consider leaving your passwords with your will so that your solicitor or executor(s) can close your social medial accounts after your death.
- Guardianship of your children. Looking after one’s children is one of the most important reasons to make a will. Parents to know who would look after their children in the event of their early death. Choosing trustworthy guardians is an important part of making a will for parents of children under the age of 18.
Who can I appoint as my executors?
Anyone over 18 years of age may be appointed as an executor. You should take the following into account in appointing your executors:
- Two executors are better than one. In the event that one of your executors, pre-deceases you or loses capacity you have a second one to act on behalf of the estate.
- The role of an executor is time consuming. You may wish to appoint a beneficiary as an executor as person not benefiting from the will may not wish to undertake the task.
- The role involves, going through you paperwork to find out your assets, securing and insuring any property, arranging for payment of the funeral bill, attending solicitors offices and approving estate accounts. you may wish to appoint someone you believe able to undertake these tasks.
- If you are appointing two executors, it is a good idea to appoint two individuals who are on good terms as they will be required to make significant decisions together and disagreements will delay the distribution of the estate.
Should I leave something to charity?
Charitable bequests are common in wills. A charity will take your gift tax free. It is important to accurately identify the charity you are giving the bequest to.
Case study re. charitable bequests:
Sean, a wealth bachelor from the west of Ireland passed without any close family. Sean had been a successful farmer in his lifetime and accumulated significant wealth. Sean left an estate of €2.5 million, mostly investment property.
Leaving such a large estate without any close relatives could have led to a very significant tax liability. Revenue allows different exemptions from inheritance for the different levels of relationship.
To find out more about tax and inheritance click here.
Sean chose to leave his estate between 58 different beneficiaries the majority of which being charities. Charites do not pay tax on the gifts they receive.
The investment property comprising the estate sold to enable these bequests to be distributed between the charities who took the gifts tax free.
Tax planning and wills.
Tax planning is a complicated and niche area of expertise. If you are concerned about the potential tax implications arising for your beneficiaries on your death, please contact us to discuss further. If your estate is of a particularly complicated nature and such that you may be able to utilise certain tax reliefs, we will provide you with details of tax advisors who work in this area.
Basic tax planning is important for every testator be aware of. Beneficiaries will fall into three categories for the purposes of Capital Acquisitions Tax, the tax paid on a benefit received from a gift or inheritance:
- Beneficiaries who will inherit under their group A threshold. These beneficiaries are the children of a deceased person and minor children of a pre-deceased child.
- Beneficiaries who will inherit under their group B threshold. These beneficiaries are lineal ancestors or lineal descendants, brothers, sisters and nieces or nephews.
- Beneficiaries who will inherit under their group C threshold. These beneficiaries are “strangers in blood” and it includes all other beneficiaries not mentioned above at no. 1 and no. 2.
How much each group can inherit tax free changes with the annual budget and details of these thresholds can be found here.
Still can’t find your answer?
If you have some unanswered questions please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to help you with your query.