Passing wealth to children

Question: Recently I made my Will.  I am in good health and therefore it may be some time before my children will inherit anything.  It seems to me that I should perhaps consider passing some property to my children now so they have the benefit of it when it is of most use to them.  Do you think this is a good idea? 

Answer: Passing wealth to the next generation is a nice problem to have in the current climate.  If you have been fortunate enough to preserve your assets then it is certainly well worth considering how you might pass these to your children, particularly to minimise any potential tax liability. 

It is important firstly to consider your overall needs.  The general rule is once assets have been transferred you cannot get them back.  Therefore you would need to be satisfied that you retain sufficient amounts to not leave yourself short.  Subject to this I think it is worth considering passing assets to your children so that the future growth of those assets will accrue to them. 

If your children have not received any previous gifts from their parents, then they would have a tax free threshold of €414,799.  In recent budgets this threshold has been coming down (it once was as high as €542,544) and in addition the tax rate has been going up to its current rate of 25%.  I think you can expect as a general policy that the government will be seeking to increase their revenue from gift / inheritance tax and there is also a danger that some of the existing reliefs will also be curtailed.  The easiest asset to transfer is of course cash and if you are considering transferring other assets such as land or company shares then you may also incur a Capital Gains Tax liability and / or a Stamp Duty liability.  However, with values at or close to an all time low, it may still be worth paying a relatively small tax liability to get assets transferred now. 

The information contained in this article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other professional advice.  Specific legal advice should be sought on any particular matter.

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