It is profoundly important to make a Will in Ireland as such Will expresses the final wishes of a deceased person and in particular how they wish their assets to be distributed on their death. In the absence of such a Will, the Laws of Intestacy will take over which may not reflect their true wishes or intentions.
Who Can Make A Will?
Any person aged eighteen or over, who is of sound mind and acting of their own free will can make a Will. It is not recommended that a person make their own Will, and a person should ensure that a suitably qualified legal practitioner is engaged to prepare the Will.
Validity Of A Will:
In order for a Will to be valid it must be in writing and it must be executed by the individual in the presence of two witnesses. It is important that neither of the witnesses are beneficiaries named in the Will as being a witness would invalidate their gift.
Reasons For Making A Will:
A Will allows an individual to provide for the transfer of their property by means of a clear legal document
A Will allows a person to take full control of their affairs
A Will permits an individual to specifically ensure that any special needs of their family are cared for. In particular, through the creation of a Will, a person can nominate guardians to care for the needs of any minor children they may have. The appointment of a Testamentary Guardian is one of the most important decisions to be made when creating a Will if the person has minor children
A Will ensures the administration and distribution of the persons assets in a much speedier manner
Considerations On Making A Will:
Identify Executors who will administer the Will
Identify Testamentary Guardians
Obtain appropriate legal and tax advice
Revocation Of A Will:
A Will can be changed at any time prior to the death of the person making it and the only relevant Will is the last valid Will made prior to death.
In summary, a Will may be the most important document that a person will sign and therefore it is essential that the Will is prepared carefully and in a manner which reflects the true intentions of the person. Any error or ambiguity in the Will may mean that it becomes invalid and the laws of the land will be utilised to administer the estate in a way which may not reflect the wishes of the person. Similarly, if a person never makes a Will their property will be distributed in accordance with the Laws of Intestacy.
A Will is therefore a fundamentally important document and a person making a Will should seek advice from qualified practitioners both with regard to the preparation of the Will itself and with regard to any tax implications that may arise in relation to same.
Yvonne Tyndall, Solicitor O’Brien Lynam Solicitors
First Printed: Winter 2013