Decisions You Need to Make Before Writing Your Will

image of a family for wills-decisions-you-need-to-make by Mullins & Treacy LLP Solicitors Waterford

Before you make a Will, you need to make a number of important decisions.

Here are some decisions you need to make before writing your Will. We’ve explained these in detail below, helping you prepare for the writing of your Last Will and Testament.

Do you want to make specific bequests?

Do you want a particular person to receive a specific gift from your estate? This could be a gift of money, or a certain item, such as a painting or engagement ring. You can also make gifts to charity in your Will.

Do you want to set up a trust?

Do you want to set up a trust for any of your beneficiaries? There are different types of trust. They all suit different circumstances. You might want to consider a trust if any of the following apply:

  • You have a beneficiary who would be unable to handle their inheritance, either temporarily or in the long-term. This might be due to their age, addiction, disability or health.
  • You want your children from a previous relationship to inherit your property, but you want your current partner to live in the property for the rest of their lifetime.
  • You want to limit the amount of Capital Acquisition Tax (CAT) payable on your estate after your death.
  • You are concerned that your assets could be dissipated by care home fees.

Who will inherit your residuary estate?

Who do you want to inherit the rest of your estate – called the residuary? And what proportion to you want each beneficiary to receive? Also, who should inherit a beneficiary’s share, if that beneficiary dies before you? This seems straightforward, but actually, you need to think very carefully about your family dynamics. Otherwise, you could accidentally disinherit the wrong people (and in turn, benefit the wrong people). One example is if you are married but have children from a previous relationship. If you leave everything to your spouse, could he/she disinherit your children after you die?

Who will your executors be?

Who do you want to wind up your affairs after you’re gone? These people are known as your executors. Executors do things like gather in your assets, settle your debts, apply for probate if needed, and distribute your estate according to the terms of your Will. You can name family and friends as executors, including your spouse and children. You can also name professional executors, such as solicitors. You can choose one Executor, or you can have more. Be careful about appointing multiple executors who might not be able to work together.
Who do you want to name as guardians for your children?
If you have children under the age of 18, who do you want to be responsible for their upbringing, should you and the other parent die before your children reach adulthood?

What should happen to the family business?

If you have a family business, what do you want to happen to it after your death? Should it be sold? Or do you want one or more beneficiaries to inherit it? This can be a particularly tricky issue in the agricultural industry where a family farm cannot be shared amongst all the offspring.
Do you need to plan for care home fees and Capital Acquisition Tax?
Could your estate be significantly reduced by care home fees or Capital Acquisition Tax? Wills can be used to preserve the value of the estate through mechanisms such as trusts.

Do you have any foreign property?

Do you own any immovable assets in another country, such as a property? If so, you’ll need to make a Will in that country too. Bear in mind that different countries have different inheritance rules. Some might not allow you to disinherit certain people such as your spouse or children.

Do you have any specific funeral wishes?

Do you have any specific funeral wishes that you want to set out in writing? Perhaps you feel very strongly about either being buried or cremated? If so, you can include this in your Will. If not, you can remain silent on the matter and decide at a later date, or let your family decide instead.

Could there be any claims against your estate?

Could there be any claims against your estate after your death? Such claims might be made by people who have been left out of your Will, or who have not received as much as they hoped. A Memorandum of Wishes, also known as a Letter of Wishes, can be left alongside your Will. This is a document in which you explain why you have made certain decisions. This can go some way in preventing a successful claim being made against your estate.

Make a Will

If you would like to make a Will, please contact us at Mullins & Treacy LLP Solicitors. We are client focused and results driven. Call us on 051 391 488 or email for a no obligation enquiry.

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