At Morgan McManus we provide our clients, whether residing in the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland, with comprehensive assistance when creating their Will.
A Will is a witnessed document that sets out in writing the deceased’s wishes for his or her possessions, called his or her ‘estate’, after death. A Will can ensure that proper arrangements are made for your family and that your assets are distributed in the way you wish after you die. It is important for you to make a Will because if you die without a Will, the law on intestacy decides what happens to your property. Creating a Will prevents unnecessary distress and expense to your loved ones.
Creating Your Will
A Will must be signed by two witnesses. It is vital to note that your two witnesses cannot be people who will gain from your Will and they must be present with you at the same time for their attestation to be valid. The witnesses’ spouses also cannot gain from your Will.
An Executor is chosen by the person making the Will and is named in the Will. They are responsible for ensuring that the Will is acted upon correctly and all your assets are distributed according to your instructions. It can be a family member, a close friend or even your solicitor.
There are legal limits as to how much of your property goes to which person, as set out in law and Morgan McManus Solicitors we can advise you of these laws. An executor can also inherit under the Will.
Changing Your Will
You can change your Will at any time. The simplest way to change your Will is by making a new one or adding a codicil. A codicil should be signed by you and must be witnessed by two people. There are many reasons why you may decide to do this, for example, wedding, divorce, births, or deaths. You cannot write on a Will to make changes. This Will make it invalid therefore it is important that you consult a Solicitor to deal with any changes.
Anyone who owns a substantial property or business is likely to suffer unnecessary Tax on death. Making a Will can be critical and Tax can often be reduced or avoided with proper Tax planning.
We believe that making a Will is an important step, even a milestone, in your life. We recommend that you meet one of our qualified Solicitors and talk over your personal affairs and wishes. With this information we will draft for you a Tax effective Will, which will accurately reflect your instructions.
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These documents deal with, in advance, the type of medical treatment an individual would or would not like to receive. Such a document is described as “living” because its terms are considered before ones death and it is known as a “Will” because it deals with an individual’s wishes. It differs from wills traditionally in that a Will speaks only from death and there is legislation dealing with Wills in this country i.e. The Succession Act. This act lays down there must be Statutory formalities complied with before a traditional will be regarded as valid and admitted to probate. There are no such statutory formalities with living Wills. “Living Wills” are also known by other names. For instance, in England and Wales they are known as Advanced Decisions. In Scotland they can be called “Advanced Directives” and in Ireland they are becoming known as “Advanced Health Care Directives”.
A traditional Will generally deals with financial and property matters whereas living Wills are often constructed to allow individuals who become patients in hospitals etc to refuse medical treatment, which is aimed at prolonging or sustaining their lives as well as other medical and personal care matters. As technological advances have progressed, living Wills have also developed to give competent adults the opportunity, in the event that they lose mental capacity, to express their wishes as to whether under certain conditions they wish to receive certain life sustaining treatments or whether they do not. A living Will allows individuals to take responsibility for their own health and medical care right up until the end of their lives. The living will can sit along side a traditional Will to deal with, not only the health care of an individual, but also all of an individuals affairs to include financial, property etc.
Other matters that a living Will can deal with would be an individuals own personal beliefs or religious or cultural practices and how those interact with proposed medical treatment.
The Benefits of a Living Will
The first beneficiary Will be oneself. The living Will is one’s means of communicating with Health Professionals if one becomes unable to communicate with them oneself. The document will ensure that individuals wishes are respected. Clearly health professionals, also benefit as they have a clear indication of what an individual wants as regards medical treatment especially if there are different views coming from other sources.
Also, ones family and friends will benefit, as the responsibility of taking decisions on ones behalf in the future is removed from them.
It should be remembered that a living Will is not a request for euthanasia as this is illegal in Ireland and a Doctor cannot be requested to engage in illegality. A living Will must be regarded as an individual exercising a fundamental right to direct what happens to ones own person. It should be noted that living Wills are not yet legally binding in the Republic of Ireland but Health Professionals should take into account what these documents contain.
It should also be noted that in September 2009 the Law Reform Commission recommended to the Irish Government new legislation which would give parliamentary approval for living Wills vis a viz The Mental Capacity Bill which is expected to be adopted in Ireland in 2010.
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