In ‘Making a Will-General Information’, one learns that an Executor is chosen by you (and named in the Will) to deal with your Estate on your behalf after your death. They ensure that they execute the Will correctly and distribute all your assets according to your instructions. This Executor can be a family member, a close friend, your solicitor, or even 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, with a Will and no children, a Spouse/Civil Partner can claim half of the Estate. If children exist, they’re entitled to a one-third share. The Spouse/Civil Partner can choose this legal right or the Will’s provision if different.
When a person dies without making a Will, we say they died Intestate. The Rules of Intestacy in Ireland dictate a strict entitlement line, and neither the deceased nor their family can alter it. If the deceased didn’t create a Will, the spouse receives the entire Estate (if childless) or two-thirds if they had children. The children then equally divide the remaining third of the Estate.
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. You can also make provisions for your children’s care and guardianship. You might want a close relative to rear them.
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. Several events, like marriage or a birth, can prompt a Will change. Notably, marriage or entering a Civil Partnership automatically revokes your Will. It’s crucial to draft a new Will considering these life events. You can’t directly edit a Will; it invalidates it. An invalid Will results in an Intestate status, and the Estate follows Intestacy rules.
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, a witness must observe your Will, and a witness cannot benefit from it. If authorities deem your Will invalid, they may consider you as having died intestate or partially intestate. In this case, your estate will go to your next of kin, following the strict Rules of Intestacy.
We strongly advise against using DIY Wills and recommend seeking legal advice for 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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