Wills – You can’t take it with you!

Wills – You can’t take it with you!

Who Needs a Will? Not one of us can expect to live forever.  However for many of us, the prospect of facing our own mortality and providing for the treatment of our affairs upon our death can be very daunting.  In sharp contrast to the amount of time, energy and creative planning that we undertake when managing our own affairs while alive, each year approximately one-third of the applications before the Probate Offices of the Courts Service are for intestate administrations id est where the deceased person has not made a valid Will. Even for those of modest means a Will is an important necessity.  For enterprising people with a wide variety of financial interests a Will is absolutely crucial.  Regardless of their means it is also vital that parents of young children (under eighteen years of age) have a Will in place which makes provision for the care of their children in the unfortunate event of their untimely death. Without a Will to express how your assets should be distributed, the law of intestacy intervenes to dispose of your assets amongst your relatives in crude set proportions, with the potential to benefit people in a manner that you might not have envisaged. Benefits of Having a Will Intestacies tend to be more expensive to administer, but more significantly, are not amenable to ante or post death tax planning and will not deal with any of the panoply of other issues that you may wish to provide for in your Will.  By making a Will you can express your wishes and intentions rather than having these supplanted by succession law in many important areas including: – The appointment of executors to process your Will, thereby alleviating the administrative burden from distressed and bereaved relatives. The appointment of testamentary guardians to take care of young children. The appointment of trustees to manage the inheritance of any beneficiary of a trust (normally children or people who would have difficulty in managing their own affairs). The provision of a benefit to an unmarried partner who would otherwise be ignored under the rules of intestacy taking account of the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010. The distribution of assets generally to those of your family and friends whom you wish to benefit, where possible in a manner that reduces the amount of your estate lost to the Revenue Commissioners in taxes. The allocation of particular items from your estate that are of tangible or sentimental benefit to specific beneficiaries. The provision of gifts to worthy causes which you support or providing for particular individual circumstances exempli gratia the protection of monies in trust for someone close to you who would have difficulty in managing their own financial affairs. The empowerment of executors and trustees beyond the very limited and narrow powers granted to them under law, to allow them the flexibility to process your estate smoothly exempli gratia post-death tax planning, resolving disputes between beneficiaries, maintaining the operation and value of your business until it is transferred as you have instructed. Will Reviews Most people ought to make a Will and all Wills should be reviewed (though not necessarily revised) at least every three years, or earlier if there is a change in family or personal circumstances, or...

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