Making a will

Its not the most exciting prospect, but everyone, no matter how small their estate should have a valid Will.  In the absence of a Will, unnecessary costs and long time delays can be experienced.  If you are reading this blog, its on your mind, so no time like the present to get started!

Getting started –  making a Will

Very many people start by trying to save tax and avoid legal problems.  Whilst this is vitally important, we believe that it is equally important to try and plan taking a practical approach to your  family circumstances. So start with the facts, a list of assets and who might receive them. Once you discuss this with your legal advisor, they will be able to highlight the tax consequences if you gift the assets now or Will them to someone after your death.

Why do I need to make a Will…..

  • There are many good reason to make a Will:
  • A Will ensures that the estate will be divided according to the individual’s wishes and not as the Succession Act dictates.
  • For people with young children it provides the opportunity to appoint legal guardians to the children in the event that both parents die together.
  • The exercise involves a useful financial review.  It highlights just how financially prepared your family would be in the event of an unexpected death.
  • A Will is an essential part of planning for Capital Acquisitions Tax.  By making a Will an individual can for example, make maximum use of the thresholds for his/her children and the spouse and civil partner exemption from inheritance tax.

Generally speaking there is less delay and dispute wher an individual dies and leaves a Will then where no Will exists.

When is a Will Valid?

The Succession Act covers some of the requirements for making a Will.

  1. A Will can be made by any person over age 18.
  2. A Will must be “in writing” which can include printed or typed Wills.
  3. The Will must be signed by the testator i.e. the person making the Will, in the presence of each of two or more witnesses present at the same time.
  4. The witnesses are only testifying to the signature of the testator.  They do not have to read the Will, nor is it necessary for them to know what is contained in the Will.  It is important to note that a witness or any spouse of a witness cannot benefit under the Will.
  5. While an individual can draft their Will in any way they want, they should bear in mind that the Succession Act of 1965 does give certain rights to an individual’s spouse, civil partner and children in certain circumstances, regardless of the terms of the Will.

Making a Will booklet