Making a Will

Why now is the time to write your Will

We all have lists of things we  need to do, but keep putting off. Whether it’s going for a dental check-up, tidying the garage, or opening a savings account, that list of things you’ve been putting off for ages is a permanent feature – even if it is way back in your mind. The thing that might be most important on that list, but that 2 out of 3 of us haven’t gotten around to, is writing a will.

You don’t have to have a large estate to need a will – there are many varied reasons why it is important for everyone.

For parents, the first reason to write a Will, no matter who you are, is your children. If you haven’t made a Will, then their guardianship upon your death will be decided by the courts. Decisions regarding who cares for them and regarding their education etc. will be made with no reference to your wishes – because you won’t have made a record of what your wishes are. If there is one major reason to write a will it is so that you can be the one to decide who will best raise and love your children in the event of your death.

Preserving your assets, and reducing the tax bill on your death, are two other good reasons to consider writing that Will this year rather than next. A Will ensures that your estate will be divided according to your wishes and not as the Succession Act 1965 dictates. This may also highlight how prepared you are financially for an unexpected death.

A Will is also an essential part of planning for capital acquisitions tax. By making a Will you can, for example, make maximum use of the thresholds for your children and the spouse’s exemption from inheritance tax and ensure that there is less potential for delays and disputes over your estate.

Making a Will

What are the practical considerations for making a Will?

  1. A Will can be made by any person over age 18 or who is married and is of “sound disposing mind”.
  2. A Will must be “in writing”, which can include printed or typed Wills.
  3. The Will must be signed by the testator i.e. the person making the  Will,  in  the presence of each of two or more witnesses present at the same time.
  4. The witnesses are only testifying to the signature of the testator. They do not have to read the will, nor is it necessary for them to know what is contained in the Will. It is important to note that a witness or any spouse of a witness cannot benefit under the Will.
  5. While an individual can draft his will   in any way he wants he should bear  in mind that the Succession Act of 1965 does give certain rights to an individual’s spouse, civil partner and children in certain circumstances, regardless of the terms of the Will.

What happens to my Assets if I die without making a Will?

Where a person dies “intestate”, or
they leave no Will
Their spouse or civil partner is
entitled to inherit their full estate,
where there are no children. Where
they had a spouse or civil partner and children the spouse or civil partner is entitled to 2/3rds.

Civil partners entitlement is subject to the financial needs of any children
being met.

The remaining 1/3 is divided equally
between children.
Where there is no spouse or civil
partner but there are children
The estate is divided equally between the children.
Where there is no spouse or civil
partner and no children
The estate passes to parent(s), if
living. If parents are deceased then
passes to brothers and sisters,
otherwise to wider family: the Act
provides a hierarchical list.

Source – Irish Life