Are you considering thinking about maybe writing a Will?

By Lenore Rice

 

Writing a Will can give peace of mind to you and those closest to you if unthinkable should happen.

While no one wants to prepare for death or future incapacity, we all owe it to our family and friends to plan properly and prevent any dispute or hassle in the future.

Why make a Will?

A Will simply ensures that what you leave on your death is distributed in accordance with your wishes, with minimum delay and maybe most importantly, with minimum distress for your loved ones. It also means that if assets are of a certain value, the issue of Inheritance Tax can be considered and any tax saving possibilities maximised.

When a person dies without leaving a valid Will, their estate must be shared out in accordance with certain rules. These are called the rules of intestacy, and refer to the legislation in place to govern the division of assets among the appropriate parties should a person die without leaving a Will i.e. dying intestate.

Points to know about intestacy

  • Married partners or civil partners can only inherit under the rules of intestacy if they are actually married or in a civil partnership at the time of death. If you are divorced or if your civil partnership has been legally ended, you cannot inherit under the rules of intestacy.
  • Partners who are informally separated can still inherit under the rules of intestacy.
  • Co-habiting partners, often incorrectly referred to as ‘common-law’ partners, who aren’t married or in a civil partnership cannot inherit under the rules of intestacy.
  • Children of the intestate person will inherit if there is no surviving spouse or civil partner. If there is a surviving partner, then the child will only inherit if the estate is worth more than a certain amount.
  • If you do not write a Will explicitly stating your wishes, then it will be up to the government to decide how your assets are shared after your death.
  • Dying without leaving a will may result in a hefty inheritance tax bill for whoever inherits your estate, depending on specific circumstance.

Additionally, under the rules of intestacy, the following people have no legal right to inherit where someone dies without leaving a Will:

  • Relations by marriage
  • Close friends
  • Carers

In other words, writing a formal Will is the only way to ensure that your money, property, investments, and possessions are passed on to the people and causes that you care about.

How Wilson Nesbitt can help

At Wilson Nesbitt we wholly understand that writing a Will is a difficult thing to even think about, as we are very aware that nobody really wants to think about something as morbid as what happens after they die.

Still, while we know that thinking about it is difficult, we will endeavour to help all those who wish to take the next step in planning for their future.

We have a team of Will writing solicitors who can assist you with making a Will and an enduring power of attorney.

We can also advise you in relation to the following Will laws in Northern Ireland:

  • inheritance tax planning
  • gifting and nomination of assets
  • making trusts

We can also introduce you to providers of pre-paid funeral plans or financial advisers in relation to long term care plans or equity release fund raising

If you would like to receive information or advice from one of our Will writing solicitors simply click here and a member of the team will be in contact at a time of your convenience.