Question: I was talking to my neighbour last night and she told me that she had an appointment to see her solicitor next week to update her Will and was shocked when I told her that I do not have a Will at all. Can you please tell me why I should have a Will?
Answer: There are several reasons why it is important to have a valid and up to date Will.
If you die without a Will you not only lose control over the distribution of your assets but the most unsuitable person may, by virtue of the Rules of Intestacy, assume the role of Personal Representative. The bottom line is that a Will drawn up by your solicitor allows you to provide for the devolution of your property as you wish and makes things easier for the people you leave behind.
Prior to making a Will.
Before making a Will, your solicitor will assist you to make a list of all of your assets.
Time should be taken to carefully complete a Personal Assets Record to ensure that after your death your Executor will be in a position to locate all your assets to include Title Deeds, Life Insurance Policies, bank accounts, shareholdings etc.
The importance of a comprehensively completed Personal Assets Record cannot be overstated as your advising solicitor will need to be aware of these details to advise you correctly on the legal or tax implications that may apply.
It is advisable that your Will be revised every three to five years or as circumstances change and it is important to remember that a Will can be revoked at any time.
According to a recent survey only a third of Irish people have a Will and while the percentage of people with a Will climbs as they get older, just over half the adult population between the age of 45 and 64 have one.
No other document forces us to confront our mortality like a Will. Every person who, not only has assets but also has responsibilities should have a Will.
*Melissa Gowan is a Partner in Cantillons Solicitors of 38/39 South Mall, Cork an award-winning law firm practising in all areas of litigation. Since the firm was founded in 1980, they have been involved in precedent making cases, amongst them Best V. Wellcome, Louise O’ Keeffe v. Ireland and most recently Costello V. HSE, a medical negligence claim in which they achieved damages of €17.8 million, the highest ever award in Irish personal injury litigation to date. Cantillons Solicitors received the award of Munster Law Firm of the Year (Over 5 Solicitors) at the AIB Irish Law Awards 2016.
*This weekly column is a readers’ service and is not intended to replace professional advice.
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