Wills Probate & Estate Planning

Inheritance, Wills and Succession

A will is a written document (testament) by which a person (the testator) directs how his or her assets (estate) are to be distributed upon death.

Without A Will

If you die intestate (i.e. without making a valid will), the ‘Laws of Intestacy’ will determine how your assets are distributed, using strict laws of entitlement. This may not be in accordance with your own wishes, and can cause great distress and expense to those you leave behind, as well as giving rise to unnecessary Inheritance Tax.

Making or Changing Your Will

At Julie Breen Solicitors LLP in Ferns and Enniscorthy, we can guide you through the whole process of how to make or change your Will. At certain times in your life it is particularly appropriate to consider your Will, for example when:
you get married – all former wills are automatically revoked when you marry
you have children
you purchase property
your marital status changes i.e. through divorce / separation
you are in a long-term relationship but are not married
A will speaks from death and it is therefore a good idea to review your will regularly.

How Much Does It Cost To Make A Will?

The cost of making a Will is determined by the complexity of your assets and your personal situation. However the average cost of most common Wills is approximately €120 + VAT. Before coming to talk to us about your Will, it is a good idea to make a list of your assets, your dependants and your choice of executors, as well as any specific wishes and questions you have.

Administration of Estates

If there is a valid will and an executor has been appointed, then the executor deals with administering the estate. If there is no will (or if there is a will but there is no executor) an administrator is appointed – usually the next of kin or a solicitor. Administering a Will means making sure that the estate is distributed in accordance with the Will and with the law.

The role of the Executor or Adminstrator

An executor is a the person appointed to hold the legal authority administer the estate of a deceased person and to manage the assets of the estate. Where no executor has been appointed or no will exists, the term Administrator is used instead.

If you are preparing the administer an estate or indeed deciding who to appoint as executor in your own will, it is important to understand that there are significant responsibilities attached to the role such as the following:
Correctly identifying the assets and liabilities of the estate and ensuring they have been handled correctly
Correctly identifying the deceased’s beneficiaries and their entitlement under the will or laws of intestacy and distributing their inheritance accordingly
Completing the administration of the estate in a timely manner

Grant of Probate

Part of the process involves a Grant of Probate, which is a process whereby the Will is certified to be valid and it is established that all legal, financial and tax matters are in order. Only then can the executor or administrator get on with the job of distributing the estate. If the estate is complex it may be advisable to appoint a solicitor administer the Will.

Julie Breen Solicitors LLP in Ferns and Enniscorthy have a great deal of experience in administering Wills, extracting Grants of Probate, explaining how to appoint an executor or how to be an executor, and all other aspects of a person’s last Will and testament.

Inheritance Tax, or Capital Acquisitions Tax

When you receive an inheritance following a death, it may be liable to inheritance tax (also known as Capital Acquisition Tax (CAT)). Inheritance Tax is a self-assessment tax, which means the person who receives the inheritance is the person responsible for paying the tax. Because the rate of inheritance tax and the tax thresholds change regularly, it is highly advisable to engage a solicitor with expertise in this area to guide you.

At Julie Breen Solicitors LLP in Ferns and Enniscorthy, we can advise you on all aspects of Capital Acquisition Tax. This includes establishing how much you are entitled to receive tax-free to calculating your tax liability and filing your inheritance tax (IT 38) form. It is important to note that even if there is no tax due, you must still file an IT 38 if your inheritance exceeds 80% of your threshold.