Solicitor w expertise on Wills/inheritance/trusts/cohabitants/social welfare

Discussion in 'Recommend advisors - solicitors, accountants etc.' started by HeatherG, Mar 28, 2018.

  1. HeatherG

    HeatherG Registered User

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    As an older person with a partner (X), unmarried but a life partner nonetheless, I'm divorced and have 2 adult children. Everyone is on very good terms. I own the house that X and I share, plus a portfolio of shares, a small ARF, a cottage with small rental income...and a small enough income compared to our outgoings, and only small savings available for fees.

    I want to provide for my partner when I die (I am a good deal older than X); leave something immediately to my children; make sure that whatever X receives will pass to the children when X dies (I DO trust X, absolutely!); and avoid X being treated as a 'blood stranger' with a CAT threshold that's miniscule. There's a bit of a social welfare set of issues involved also.

    So I'm seeking someone who would be immediately able to advise on how best to set things up to meet the objectives I outlined above. West of Ireland would be a preference, though if Dublin was necessary I guess we'd have to consider that. I've had legal advice previously and it has cost a fortune for very little.

    Any suggestions would be gratefully listened to!
     
  2. Vanilla

    Vanilla Frequent Poster

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    noproblem and Ravima like this.
  3. HeatherG

    HeatherG Registered User

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    Vanilla, thank you very much indeed for this advice. I hadn't even heard of TEPs before, but they sound just the ticket. I visited that link, and searched a little; found two affiliates in Galway (that would be ideal for me since I live in NW Connemara, about 2 hours from Galway city), but also full members in Castlebar and other locations that could be suitable.

    So I'm going to follow up on this by Googling some of the names given and seeing if I feel we could get along. Then maybe see whether I could, for a predetermined fee, seek a few answers in the first instance to my situation.

    May I ask: would there be much difference between an "Affiliate" and a "Full" member?

    Thanks again and regards
     
  4. Vanilla

    Vanilla Frequent Poster

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    You are welcome, HeatherG, hope you find the right adviser.

    From the step website- 'Reaching full membership requires two years of experience, including significant involvement at a specialist level with one or more of the following: planning, creation, management of and accounting for trusts and estates, executorship administration and related taxes.'

    The TEP membership goes from Student to Affiliate to Associate to Full member.
     
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  5. HeatherG

    HeatherG Registered User

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    Ah...thank you very much indeed! I have selected and emailed a full member solicitor today, asking about fees, etc. Thanks so much for your asistance.

    Kind regards
     
  6. HeatherG

    HeatherG Registered User

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    Vanilla, once again, many thanks for your advice. I'm now in contact with a member of TEP, and her knowledge is really great. So I feel we're on course - thanks to you.

    Great advice; thank you; and kind regards
     
  7. Brendan Burgess

    Brendan Burgess Founder

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    Vanilla

    That is a very interesting link, which I had not heard of.

    But it seems a bit like accountants having a specialist group for members who prepare financial statements.

    Are making wills and doing probate not the bread and butter of most solicitors? Shouldn't any normal practice be able to do that?

    Brendan
     
  8. HeatherG

    HeatherG Registered User

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    Brendan, that's what I had thought in my innocence. Some weeks and €750 later, I discovered to my surprise that it wasn't the case. I found Vanilla really put me in the right direction here.
     
  9. Brendan Burgess

    Brendan Burgess Founder

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    It would seem to me that your primary objective is to provide for X. And the best tax planning solution to this is to marry her.

    It might be better to go to someone with a specialist knowledge of tax and its interaction with social welfare.

    Brendan
     
  10. Brendan Burgess

    Brendan Burgess Founder

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    Hi Heather

    There are many incompetent solicitors out there. I am sure you could just as easily pick an incompetent member of STEP.

    Brendan
     
  11. HeatherG

    HeatherG Registered User

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    Maybe so. However, I do seem to have struck gold, and am well happy.

    In relation to your other response, yes: marrying her would indeed be the easier option, but we had reasons not to wish to go that route. However, it may well turn out that we need to swallow the reservations and tie the knot.

    When you look into it, it seems that cohabitants are exceptionally poorly treated in law/tax here in Ireland - even 'qualified cohabitants'. It's something of a disgrace, especially when you read from the 2016 Census that there are hundreds of thousands of cohabiting couples, all of whom have to put up with a CAT threshold of €13,250 (from memory). In my case, as a divorcee, I might not wish to remarry, considering that the initial vow I took was for life (regardless of the fact that the marriage did not last). Hence, being forced in effect by the tax codes to remarry is actually a devaluation of the concept of marriage - and that is counter to the Irish Constitution (whatever one may think of the Constitution - it still should govern how laws and tax regulations are written).
     
  12. Brendan Burgess

    Brendan Burgess Founder

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    Just go into a Registry Office and do it quietly. You don't need to make a big song and dance about it. I am sure you could also do it in another country.

    Brendan
     
  13. noproblem

    noproblem Frequent Poster

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    There may be legal reasons they can't get married to each other, but as you say it seems the easy way and no big fees to pay legal eagles or pen pushers who make nice dosh out of others stubbornness or whatever.
     
  14. HeatherG

    HeatherG Registered User

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    No, you're right. Actually, the main thing was my own reluctance. Two reasons. First, I was with the same partner for 47 years (married for almost 40, had two kids), and I really, really took and take that vow seriously. Nothing religious - I'm an atheist - but still, I reckoned I had done that and been there and it was a life kind of a thing. Second, I no longer believe in the institution of marriage; I feel very strongly that a person should remain with his/her partner for exactly as long as they wish to remain together, without the need for any 'societally-approved' construct/institution like marriage. My (adult) kids and ex-spouse and partner are fine with it.

    So! What I need to do is what you guys suggest: put aside those scruples, book a marriage, and do it quietly and without any fuss, just to satisfy the tax rules. Seems like a pity. Devalues the concept of marriage (especially protected within our Constitution and my own moral framework). But, sure, what's the alternative? Just rotten big legal fees, and things like trusts that have stupid annual taxes hanging off them.

    This affects literally hundreds of thousands of committed cohabitants. It's time for there to be an alternative to actual marriage/remarriage. It really is. Could be a good policy for a political party seeking votes in an election...

    Thanks, all.
     
  15. Gordon Gekko

    Gordon Gekko Frequent Poster

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    I have dealt with a number of STEP professionals over the years and found them great; however, most of them are Dublin-based and fees might be an issue.

    Best of luck.
     
  16. HeatherG

    HeatherG Registered User

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    They don't exist any more as an option, do they? So far as I'm aware, since same sex marriage came into law, NEW civil partnerships were no longer possible to obtain.

    I found a full STEP member a one and a half hour drive away, here in the west (don't think I'm allowed give names here?); seems really knowledgeable and responsive, etc.

    Thanks for the luck and for the interest
     
  17. Gordon Gekko

    Gordon Gekko Frequent Poster

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    Yes, civil partnerships are gone now that there is marriage equality.
     
  18. Vanilla

    Vanilla Frequent Poster

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    I've posted before about STEP, when you previously remarked on it:

    https://www.askaboutmoney.com/threads/leaving-house-to-parent.198177/#post-1466584.
     
  19. Brendan Burgess

    Brendan Burgess Founder

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    Thanks Vanilla

    Brendan
     
  20. Joint Executor

    Joint Executor Registered User

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    The advice provided regarding TEP is just what I needed too. :) Thanks Vanilla my search begins