John Lynch of Lynch Solicitors
Do most people have Wills and why is having a Will so important?
Research indicates that 82% of people over 65 years have a Will whereas just 51% of people between 45 and 64 and 26% of those aged 35 to 44 years have a Will.
Many people underestimate the importance of making a Will or many people put off thinking about the inevitable. Would you go away for a few months without leaving your keys with a neighbour or your children with a child minder? So why would you leave permanently without settling your affairs?
If you don’t plan it, it wont happen. There is one certainty – we can’t last forever!
What is a Will and how do you make one?
A Will is a legal document detailing how someone’s possessions should be divided after their death. The person making a Will is called a Testator.
A person may change or revoke a Will at any time. In fact, I would recommend that a person regularly review their Will.
It should be kept safely. It is also a good idea to let people know where the original Will is kept. The fact that a person has made a Will does not prevent them from dealing with their property after the Will is made. So, for example, a person makes a Will and in doing so leaves all the money in a particular bank account to a daughter. At a later stage this person decided they need that money and was concerned that it could not be spent because it had been left in the Will to his daughter. This is not the case – this person is entitled to do what they want with the money during their lifetime. The same applies for any other property be it a car, a house or shares.
Why you should make a Will?
By making a Will you decide what is to happen to your property after your death. If you do not make a Will, the law dictates how your property is deal with.
In making a Will you are in control of how your estate is distributed and you can structure your Will so as to avail of the most tax efficient way of dividing your estate. You can choose who is to carry out your wishes by appointing Executors.
A few tips
First and foremost make a Will – for the sake of an hour or so with your solicitor – give yourself the peace of mind of knowing you have left instructions for your loved ones.
If you know what you want to do why delay – why not consider doing it now.
Once you have your Will made make sure to review it on any major life events or in any case every five years.
Don’t rush into a decision – in probate if you are going to take on the task of administering the estate yourself make sure you are confident that you can complete the task.
If in doubt seek legal advice.
So, what is an executor and what do they do?
Your Executor carries out (or executes) the wishes set out in your Will. Choosing the right person or persons is an important decision.
It should be somebody you trust and is up to the job. Ideally, it should be a job given to two people to act as co-executors.
Their primary task is locate your assets and carry out your wishes under the Will.
When someone dies their assets are frozen and a legal mechanism is required to allow another person to unfreeze these assets and manage the estate left behind.
Probate or Administration is the legal term for a procedure that gives a person, chosen by you, authority to manage this estate.
An executor needs to go through a number of legal steps to get the Grant of Probate.
It is very helpful to the Executor if the person making the Will has left a summary of assets, bank accounts and insurance policies with the Will as it can be a good starting point in the enquiries.
The details of the assets and liabilities of the Testator must be disclosed to Revenue. Once all enquiries have been completed the Inland Revenue Affidavit is prepared for the Revenue Commissioners. At the same time the Executor will complete the application forms required to issue to issue the Grant of Probate.
Once the application is submitted the papers will be considered by the Probate Office and, if everything is in order, the Grant of Probate will issue.
Once the grant has been obtained, the Executor now has a legal duty to administer the estate in accordance with the wishes of the deceased as set out in their Will.
The material contained in this article is provided for general information purposes only.
We advise you to seek specific advice about any legal decision or course of action.
For more information:
Call 052- 612 43 44 Jervis House, Parnell Street, Clonmel or email: firstname.lastname@example.org or you can also check out the website: www.lynchsolicitors.ie