The first Blackrock Breakfast Briefing (#BBB) session was held recently and we received great feedback from those who attended.
Considering the early start there was a great buzz in the room – it might have had something to do with the coffee and croissants which seemed to go down well.
We had a lively and informative talk on a very ‘deadly’ topic, wills, with 2 super-knowledgeable speakers, Paula Fallon solicitor and Doreen Shivnen barrister covering a range of things that we should do in order to put our affairs in good order, and the audience asked many questions during the presentation which made for an engaged discussion.
Refreshments were available from 7.30 and the session began at 8.00am sharp and was all done and dusted by 8.45am so people could get back to work, though some stayed on to talk to the speakers and finish their ‘breakfast’.
We learned a lot at the session – among them were:
Ø The pitfalls of the DIY will. There are very precise rules to follow when drafting a will and it is so easy to omit one and this could render your will invalid, and that may not become apparent until it is too late.
Ø A will only ‘speaks’ from the day you die. People may be under the impression that their assets are somehow ‘spoken for’ once they make a will but that is not the case at all. You are free to deal with your property in the meantime (even spend it all!).
Ø Review and update your will regularly. Things change and what was suitable a few years ago may be wrong now – you may have sold something that you left to someone in a will, your children may have grown up, your family’s financial circumstances may have changed since your last will – it’s easy to forget to check and update your will, and it is not difficult to make simple changes that can make a big difference.
Ø Consider who you want to mind your younger children (Guardian). You might have a word with those you are considering appointing, to see if they would be happy to take on the task.
Ø Consider who you want to mind your money (Trustee). Often the people minding your children may not be the people you would like to manage your money and It can often be a good idea to share the tasks by picking a Guardian who is different to your Trustee.
Ø Children do not have an automatic right to their parent’s property when their parent dies leaving a will. Unlike a spouse/civil partner who has an automatic ‘legal right’, a child does not have an automatic right to their parents' assets if their parent has left a will.
If a child believes their parent has treated them unfairly they can make a claim to Court that their parent has failed in their moral duty to make proper provision for them. That claim may or may not be successful.
Ø Make a new will after marriage. Getting married invalidates your existing will unless that will was made in contemplation of that marriage. If you forget to make another will after marriage it is as though you had made no will at all.
Ø You may need to make a new will after divorce. Getting divorced does not invalidate your existing will. If you left property to your former spouse in a will and you then get divorced and don’t want to leave them anything, then you need to watch out! Make sure to do it as part of the divorce procedure.
Ø If you do not make a will the law will decide how your property is divided. This could mean that your property is divided in a way you don’t want e.g. your spouse would be entitled to two thirds and your children between them entitled to one third.
in this instance too much might go to the Government’s coffers (because you haven’t done any tax planning), and your children inherit on reaching 18, which you may consider to be too young. Now you don’t want any of that!
This then is the first of the #BBBs and we are in the midst of putting the details together for the next one, near the end of April, asking are you over insuring, are there gaps where you are not covered, can you save on your insurance costs and other key tips.
There are so many topics that we know would be of interest so 'Contact Us’ and let us know of any topic that would be of particular interest and we will add it to the list for consideration.
Helpful links from #BBB1 re. wills
This link provides excellent information on wills and a helpful form "Where my possessions are kept" which you can download and complete keeping all relevant information handy
The Law Society of Ireland
Making a Will- A helpful information sheet and checklist.