An Executor is chosen by you (and named in the Will) to deal with your Estate on your behalf after your death. 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.
Also, it can be someone who inherits in the Will.
Spouses / Civil Partners and Children
Spouses/ Civil Partners and children are normally the immediate beneficiaries of Wills. By law, where there is a Will, a Spouse/Civil Partner has the legal right to half of the Estate in question if there are no children. If there are children, then the Spouse/Civil Partner has a legal right to a one-third share of the Estate. It is up to the Spouse/Civil Partner to choose to claim this legal right or what is set out in the Will if different.
Where a person dies without having made a Will, they are said to die Intestate. Under the Rules of Intestacy in Ireland, a strict line of entitlement is followed and the deceased or their family has no say in same. If no Will has been made, then the spouse is entitled to all of the Estate (if there are no children) or two-thirds of the Estate if there are children. The remaining one third must then be divided equally between the children of the Deceased.
There is one exception to the strict line of entitlement which flows from the Rules of Intestacy which applies only in the case of the death of a Civil Partner whereby the natural child of a deceased Civil Partner can apply to the Court to enlarge their share on intestacy. This is known as a Section 67A(3) Application and more information is contained in Contesting a Will or Estate.
If children (under 18 years of age) are beneficiaries of a Will, then Trustees should be appointed to handle the benefit until the child has reached adulthood. Trustees are essentially persons who will hold the minor children’s inheritance for them until they come of age. During this time, the Trustees must use the inheritance for the benefit of the children. Provision can also be made for the care and guardianship of your children. You may wish to see them being reared by a close relative.
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 change your Will such as a wedding/ entering a Civil Partnership, divorce/separation or dissolution of a Civil Partnership, birth or death. You should note that your Will will be automatically revoked upon your marriage or entering a Civil Partnership so it is vital that you make a new Will which is made expressly in contemplation of your marriage/Civil Partnership. You cannot write on a Will to make changes. This will make it invalid. If a Will is invalid the Deceased person will be deemed to have died Intestate and their Estate will then have to be distributed according to the Rules of Intestacy.
Making a Will by yourself
You can make a will by yourself but it’s always advisable to seek professional help as you may make mistakes if you are not familiar with the legal terms. Moreover, your intentions could be ambiguous and some errors could make your will invalid. Remember your Will must be witnessed and any witness cannot be a beneficiary. If your Will is held to be invalid, you may be deemed to have died intestate or partially intestate, thus, leaving your estate to your next of kin under the strict rules of entitlement as per the Rules of Intestacy.
We stress that we do not advise that DIY Wills be used and we recommend legal advice is taken in connection with Will drafting and execution.
Cost of making a will
The complexity of your estate will determine the cost. However, the average cost of the most common Wills is €150 + VAT. Before you make an appointment it is a good idea to list the questions you would like answered as well as your instructions regarding your money and possessions. You should also decide how you want your estate divided, as well as your choice of executors and funeral arrangements.
As Specialist Solicitors in Wills, we are happy to assist or advise you in any aspect of your Will. If you need more information, you can contact us.
After discussing your situation with you, we can advise you how to proceed. We look forward to hearing from you.
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