Making a Will & Probate
No one likes to think much about their death, so we often put off making a Will to older age, or serious illness. However, the earlier you make arrangements, the less stress and more peace of mind is involved. If you have children or other dependents, you offer them better security the sooner you write a Will.
‘Probate’ describes the legal process of dealing with a person’s estate after their death.
The Importance of Making a Will
There are two main reasons why you should consider making a Will. The first – and main – reason it’s important to make a Will is if you have financial assets. A Will allows you to clearly set out how they’re to be divided.
The second main reason is about dependents – children, a spouse, or a dependent adult you care for. Making a Will enables you to provide financially for dependents. It can also appoint others to step into your shoes, to care for dependents after your death.
There are many life situations where making a Will should be considered, and while each situation is different, there are some key reasons why making a Will is important at various stages of life.
Single Parents Making a Will
If you are a single parent, you can use the power of a Will to take care of your most precious possession – your child. A Will can be used to appoint “testamentary guardians” of any children under the age of 18. These guardians would literally step into your shoes to care for the child.
Married Couples Making a Will
Making a Will, when married, allows couples to make sure that the other person is automatically provided for if they die. Couples also should consider what would happen if you were both gone.
In that event, you can choose guardians to care for your children. You can also appoint Trustees to manage any financial fund which would be available to raise the children.
The trust can run until an age of the parents choosing, at which point the children can have access to monies in their own right. This is particularly important to consider in the case of very young children.
How Wills are Affected by Divorce and Separation
After divorce, it is essential that the newly divorced person, makes a new Will. Inheritance rights between spouses are extinguished in most separation agreements and automatically after divorce. Therefore, the individual must consider afresh, how they wish to divide their assets on death. They must also consider how, after separation, they now wish to provide for the care of dependent children.
Single People Making a Will
If a person is single, without any dependents, you may have property or other assets. Making a Will allows you to direct the division and distribution of your assets when you die. This can encompass parents, siblings, nieces/nephews, or partners.
Wills and Taxation Issues
One of the key areas to consider when making a Will, is the issue of Inheritance Tax. While a spouse can inherit without any tax liability, this is not the case for other categories of relationship. Find out more here about inheritance tax liabilities and thresholds.
What Happens To Your Estate after You Die
After you die, your property and other assets, such as money and vehicles, are passed to your personal representative. These assets are described as your estate. The personal representative is known as the executor, if a Will exists. If you leave a valid Will, your executor will distribute your assets, in the way you have outlined.
The situation differs if no Will has been made, no executor appointed or if an executor cannot, or refuses to carry out the role. In these cases, the personal representative is known as the administrator. This person is normally next of kin or solicitor.
Probate and Contested Wills
If you have an executor, they need to take out what is known as Probate. The Probate Office or District Probate Registry must certify that the Will is valid. They must also certify that all legal, financial and tax matters are in proper order.
In the case of an administrator, a Letter of Administration needs to be taken out. Typically, the next of kin applies for a grant of administration.
Priority is given in this order:
- Spouse or civil partner
- Brother or sister
- A more distant relative
Wills only take effect once the Probate Office declare the Will valid. It is then ‘proved’. Sometimes, there are concerns about the validity of the Will or disputes among the next of kin about the estate. In such cases, you must appoint the services of a solicitor.
Contact Thomasina Connell on 045-525125 to discuss any aspect of making a Will, and ensure the best for yourself, and your family. Or emal her at email@example.com
Probate is the process of dealing with the Estate of someone who has died, which generally means clearing their debts and distributing their assets in accordance with their Will.
This will vary depending on the size of the estate, the number of beneficiaries and the complexity of the process. However, following an initial consultation, we will provide you with an estimated fee quotation for work expected to be carried out and all outlays involved.
The Probate Office must declare or certify that a Will is valid and all financial, tax and legal affairs are in order. The wishes contained within a Will must be carried out, all assets must be gathered, debts and taxes owed by the Estate need to be discharged and the residue of the Estate to be divided amongst those named within the will.
The Rules of Intestacy are not flexible and do not take into account what your wishes would have been. After your debts and funeral expenses are discharged, the Rules of Intestacy sets out that your estate is distributed
The Executor decides who views the Will – there is no automatic entitlement to see a Will until it is admitted to the Probate Office and becomes a public document, at that stage anyone can apply to see the Will, as it is an instrument of Public Record.
It is advisable to make a Will. A Will allows you to choose who inherits your assets. If you do not make a Will the Law will distribute under the Succession Act which may not be how you wish to distribute your assets.
We can prepare your will very promptly and the process would usually commence with a telephone consultation and thereafter an in-office appointment. Thereafter we prepare your Will and you may execute same once you are satisfied with the content.
A person who you nominate to distribute your Estate in accordance with your Will and the Law.
A person who is appointed to distribute the estate where no Will has been made. They are generally the deceased’s next of kin.