Re­solve to pre­pare for one sure thing in life

Make it a New Year res­o­lu­tion to get your af­fairs in or­der, start with a will

Irish Examiner - Farming - - NEWS - Karen Walsh

Mak­ing a will is one of the im­por­tant things you can do to pro­tect your farm and your fam­ily’s fu­ture.

Yet it is sur­pris­ing to see how many do not make wills, or how many wish to make one but do not find the time to do so.

With a new year com­menc­ing, it is a good time to do so, you should con­tact a solic­i­tor in or­der to do this. When some­body makes a will and if they die, they die tes­tate.

If a per­son dies without mak­ing a will, the rules of in­tes­tacy ap­ply, gov­ern­ing who is en­ti­tled to re­ceive a per­son’s prop­erty should they die. This can of­ten mean that the de­ceased per­son’s prop­erty is distributed in a man­ner that does not nec­es­sar­ily re­flect their wishes. To pro­vide some clar­ity on this, the rules of in­tes­tacy are as fol­lows.

Where the de­ceased leaves a spouse/civil part­ner only, the en­tire es­tate passes to the sur­viv­ing spouse/civil part­ner.

Where the de­ceased a spouse or civil part­ner, and chil­dren, the spouse or civil part­ner in­her­its two thirds of the es­tate and the chil­dren in­herit the re­main­ing one third in equal shares.

Where the de­ceased leaves no par­ent alive, the es­tate is di­vided equally be­tween the chil­dren. Where the de­ceased dies without a spouse or civil part­ner, chil­dren, or par­ent, the es­tate is di­vided be­tween his or her brothers and sis­ters in equal shares.

Where the de­ceased dies without a spouse or civil part­ner, chil­dren, par­ent, brothers or sis­ters, all neph­ews and nieces take equally.

Where there are no rel­a­tives, the state takes the en­tire of the es­tate. When you make a will, you also get to de­cide who will ad­min­is­ter your es­tate.

A will al­lows you to name the per­son or per­sons who would be the most suitable and who will en­sure your wishes are car­ried out. Th­ese are known as ex­eculeaves tors, and they are ap­pointed when you make a will. When you make a will, you have con­trol over who is to ben­e­fit from your es­tate, and you can en­sure that all your loved ones are looked af­ter

It is par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant to make a will if you have young chil­dren and want to pro­vide ap­pro­pri­ate care for them af­ter your death. This is known as ap­point­ing guardians. If you have young chil­dren, the will es­tab­lishes a trust fund for their ben­e­fit, an ap­points guardians of your choice to look af­ter them. An­other im­por­tant term to be fa­mil­iar with is the ‘residue’, which is the term used to de­scribe what prop­erty of yours is left over af­ter the de­duc­tion of spe­cific gifts, debts, le­ga­cies, tax and the ex­penses of the es­tate. Live­stock, blood­stock, plant and machin­ery should be men­tioned specif­i­cally in your will, oth­er­wise they may fall to the per­son or per­sons en­ti­tled to the residue of your es­tate.

Care­ful will draft­ing can have a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on the level of in­her­i­tance tax which will be paid.

It pro­vides an op­por­tu­nity to as­sess the po­si­tion and con­sider what steps can be taken to min­imise the in­her­i­tance tax li­a­bil­ity.

By mak­ing a will you can also choose to cre­ate a life in­ter­est for some­one, pos­si­bly a spouse, or a child with spe­cial needs.

A life in­ter­est en­ti­tles some­one to a right to en­joy the use of a prop­erty ex­clu­sively, or the in­come that the cap­i­tal gen­er­ates dur­ing their life­time.

Once that per­son passes away, it will re­vert to the ben­e­fi­ciary you choose. No­body likes to con­tem­plate their own death, but it is one thing in life that will hap­pen.

It is es­sen­tial that you make a will, and we would rec­om­mend you con­tact a solic­i­tor in the New Year, and they will ad­vise and pre­pare a will for you.

New Year res­o­lu­tions? Mak­ing a will is one of the im­por­tant things you can do to pro­tect your farm and your fam­ily’s fu­ture.

Karen Walsh, from a farm­ing back­ground, is a solic­i­tor prac­tic­ing in Walsh & Part­ners, So­lic­i­tors, 17, South Mall, Cork (021-4270200), and au­thor of ‘Farm­ing and the Law’. Walsh & Part­ners also spe­cialises in per­sonal in­jury claims, con­veyanc­ing, pro­bate and fam­ily law. Email: [email protected]­shand­part­ners.ie Web: www.wal­shand­part­ners.ie While ev­ery care is taken to en­sure ac­cu­racy of in­for­ma­tion con­tained in this ar­ti­cle, solic­i­tor Karen Walsh does not ac­cept re­spon­si­bil­ity for er­rors or omis­sions how­so­ever arising, and you should seek le­gal ad­vice in re­la­tion to your par­tic­u­lar cir­cum­stances at the ear­li­est pos­si­ble time.

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