Will Writing Service Ireland
Can I Do It Myself?
Wills in Ireland are not simply a matter of putting your signature to a piece of paper in the presence of two witnesses. Many families will have seen and heard of unhappy fallout arising from the signing of poorly thought out wills executed without considered legal advice. We strongly advise using a specialist when orchestrating your will.
What Does It Cost To Make A Will?
That will depend upon the nature of the will and any matters requiring special consideration because of your own circumstances and wishes.
On receipt of instructions as to your circumstances and wishes I will advise you of the estimated fees in advance of preparing your will. You can be sure that whatever you spend in having a suitable will prepared will not be a waste of money. And remember that this is a useful occasion on which to carry out a general legal health check on your affairs. You may need to consider, for example, signing an enduring power of attorney.
Reviewing your will:
You should take careful note to review your will from time to time. Circumstances change, the value of your assets will change, beneficiaries may die before you, and of course a subsequent marriage will revoke your will (unless your will was made in contemplation of that marriage).
What happens if you fail to make a will?
Unless you leave a valid will, your property, on your death, will be divided according to the intestacy provisions of the Succession Act 1965.
This division may not be as you expected and it may not be what you would have wished if you had made your own choice.
For example if a married person dies intestate leaving a spouse or civil partner and children the surviving spouse or civil partner is only entitled to two thirds of the estate – the children are entitled to one third between them – problematical in the case of a young family.
The making of a will is important – never to be put on the long finger
Subject to certain limitations, (for example a spouse or civil partner’s statutory entitlement) by making a valid will you can decide who will have your property on your death.
It is useful to complete a personal assets sheet on which you will list personal information, your property details, note the whereabouts of your important documents, including your will, and note your account numbers – this will ease the burden on your executors and help ensure that investments or savings accounts are not left undiscovered in dormant accounts after your death. I will provide you with such a sheet at the same time as you sign your will.
What Probate Ireland need from you in order to advise you about your proposed will:
Firstly we need evidence of your identity in order to comply with the Anti Money Laundering Regulations. This is simply the same as if you were opening a bank account, that is: photographic evidence (your passport or driving licence) to confirm your identity, along with a utility bill addressed to you (to confirm your address).
You need to assemble some information in relation to your assets. Before you consider the contents of your will it is important to have a reasonable idea of the value of the property you have to leave. Don’t worry about having exact figures. If you are truly short of information as to your assets, but clear as to your wishes, it is possible (and desirable) to make a temporary will which can be looked at later on when you have fuller information together).
In listing your assets you need to consider the question of the true ownership of what you ordinarily describe as “your property”. Example: a property in joint names – what is the relationship in law between the donor and the donee? what was the intention of the parties in placing the property in joint names? who contributed the funds? when was it set up as joint ownership? who has enjoyed the benefit of the property since it was placed in joint names? was it the intention (and is it still the wish) of the joint owners, that the property would go to the survivor of them? (and even if one of the joint owners might be permitted even now to sever the joint ownership?) Another example: Insurance policies and other such payments nominated to be paid to someone else on your death – you may not have control over the destination of these funds.
You have to consider who you will appoint as your executors. Your executors are the people who will look after your affairs and carry out the terms of your will after your death. It is allowable for an executor to benefit from your will (provided neither the executor or the executor’s spouse or civil partner acts as a witness). If any of your beneficiaries will be under 18 years of age at the date of your death you have to consider who will act as trustees to look after their interests until they reach that age. One or more of your proposed beneficiaries may be suffering under a disability and you may wish to have that person’s gift administered by someone else.
If you are (or have been) married or in a civil partnership (and even if you have been divorced) you will, or may, have an obligation to provide a certain share to your spouse or civil partner or your former spouse or civil partner.
The Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010 came into effect on the 1st January 2011. As well as conferring tax benefits on civil partners the new act also confers property rights on certain qualifying cohabitants.
Under Section 117 of the Succession Act (as amended) you have an obligation to consider the position of your children (whether born inside or outside of marriage).
Depending upon the relationship in law between you and your proposed beneficiaries, and depending upon the question of whether your beneficiaries may have received other gifts from you or from other people, there will come up for consideration the question of Capital Acquisitions Tax and how it might be lawfully minimised in the case of your proposed beneficiaries.
You may have specific wishes as to what is to happen if one or more of your intended beneficiaries dies before you.
You may wish to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of making a provision for someone in your lifetime compared with the idea of leaving that person a gift in your will.
You may wish to leave gifts to charity – such gifts will be exempt from Capital Acquisitions Tax.
You might need to consider whether it might make sense to place property in joint ownership now or perhaps to allow someone to take up residence now in a property intended to be given to that person on your death.
If you have property outside Ireland you will need separate advice in the local jurisdiction as to how that property is to be handled on your death. You must take particular care to ensure that any will which you make here does not cancel a will which you have made abroad in respect of that property (and vice versa).
The above list is by no means exhaustive. But even from the above you will see that there is a great deal of care and attention required and a lot to be thought about when you are considering making or amending your will.
You have signed your will – is it safely stored? – in good condition? – unaltered? – does your executor know where to find it? – remember if the original will was last in your possession and cannot be found on your death there is a presumption in law that you have destroyed it with the intention of revoking it.