Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Business & Appointments - - FRONT PAGE -

This is the web­site of the Cit­i­zens In­for­ma­tion Board — the State board tasked with pro­vid­ing in­for­ma­tion on pub­lic and so­cial ser­vices. It is an ex­cel­lent web­site with com­pre­hen­sive in­for­ma­tion on a wide va­ri­ety of top­ics, in­clud­ing wills and in­her­i­tance. In its ‘Death and Be­reave­ment’ sec­tion, there is in­for­ma­tion on how to make a will, what hap­pens a de­ceased’s es­tate if they have — or have not — made a will, how to reg­is­ter a death, and the main money mat­ters that can arise after a death. You can also find in­for­ma­tion about Cap­i­tal Ac­qui­si­tions Tax — more com­monly known as in­her­i­tance tax — on this web­site. This is the web­site of the Law So­ci­ety of Ire­land. The site has a link to a help­ful ‘Mak­ing a Will’ guide the Re­tire­ment Plan­ning Coun­cil of Ire­land. “How­ever, peo­ple will come in and out of your life after you make a will — and your cir­cum­stances are likely to change as you get older. So it’s im­por­tant to re­view a will ev­ery five years.”

Chil­dren can of­ten be over­looked in wills — par­tic­u­larly in the event of the un­timely death of one or both spouses. Should you have chil­dren, it’s im­por­tant to in­clude them in your will — re­gard­less of which spouse out­lives the other. This is par­tic­u­larly the case if your chil­dren are young, or if one of them has a med­i­cal con­di­tion or dis­abil­ity and so re­quires care and fi­nan­cial sup­port. Cou­ples of­ten plan to draw up a will where the sur­viv­ing spouse in­her­its ev­ery­thing — on the as­sump­tion that one spouse will out­live the other and that the sur­viv­ing spouse will look after the chil­dren. How­ever, this may not al­ways hap­pen. Both par­ents could have an un­timely death or die at, or very near, the same time. This is the web­site of the Rev­enue Com­mis­sion­ers where you can find in­for­ma­tion on in­her­i­tance tax, in­clud­ing the tax-free thresh­olds (where you “There will ef­fec­tively be no will if both par­ents die at the same time and a will has been made leav­ing ev­ery­thing to the sur­viv­ing part­ner,” said Bell. Be mind­ful too that one spouse could re­marry after the other passes away — or that one or both spouses could re­marry if the mar­riage breaks down. In such cases, the chil­dren of the first mar­riage could be at a dis­ad­van­tage if they haven’t been pro­vided for in a will.

“If the sur­viv­ing spouse re­mar­ries, the new wife will au­to­mat­i­cally be en­ti­tled to half of ev­ery­thing — and if the new mar­riage pro­duces chil­dren, the share of an es­tate left for the chil­dren of the first mar­riage will be wa­tered down again,” said Browne. of it, he or she is en­ti­tled to a le­gal right share of your es­tate — which can be claimed after you die, if they wish to do so. In such cases, should you have no chil­dren, your spouse has an au­to­matic right to claim half of your es­tate. Should you have chil­dren, your spouse is en­ti­tled to a third of the es­tate and your chil­dren are not nec­es­sar­ily en­ti­tled to the rest. You do not have to leave any­thing to your chil­dren in your will. How­ever, if you do not, they may be able to chal­lenge your will on the ba­sis that you have not ful­filled your obli­ga­tions to­wards them.

You can leave in­struc­tions in your will stat­ing that money in your bank ac­count be used to cover the cost of your funeral ex­penses when you die.

Hire a so­lic­i­tor or get pro­fes­sional ad­vice when draw­ing up your will — oth­er­wise, you could make a will which is wholly, or partly, in­valid. Should this arise, the rules of in­tes­tacy will ap­ply to ei­ther the en­tire will or the in­valid part — and so your wishes on how your es­tate is di­vided are un­likely to be car­ried out. Tell a trusted rel­a­tive or friend where your will is. “Very of­ten, peo­ple know a will is made — but can’t find it,” said Bell. “Nor­mally, the orig­i­nal is left with a so­lic­i­tor — and a pho­to­copy with the in­di­vid­ual’s other pa­pers.”

Wills are said to bring out the worst in hu­man na­ture so there is never any guar­an­tee that yours will be re­ceived am­i­ca­bly, de­spite any ef­forts you take to achieve that. Still, it’s worth do­ing what you can to avoid con­flict after you pass away.

You can ex­pect to pay a so­lic­i­tor any­thing from €100 to a few hun­dred euro for a sim­ple will. How­ever, the cost could be much more, de­pend­ing on how com­pli­cated your will is. “Wills for very big com­pli­cated cases could cost tens of thou­sands of eu­ros,” said Michael Gaffney, a tax ex­pert with KPMG who has ad­vised many fam­ily busi­nesses on suc­ces­sion plan­ning.

Richard Har­ris in The Field, which showed just how di­vi­sive the is­sue of land can be

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