What is a Will?
A Will is a testamentary document in which a person, known as the Testator (male) or Testatrix (female) sets out his or her wishes in relation to certain matters which are to take place after that person’s death.
Who can make a Will?
All adults of sound disposing mind can make a Will.
Why should I make a Will?
The creation of a will gives the Testator sole discretion regarding the distribution of their Estate after their death. Not only does a Will allow the Testator to direct how his Estate is to be distributed amongst his beneficiaries, it also allows the Testator to make particular provision for the needs of certain family members whether these be minor children, dependant children, elderly parents etc.
Who should make a Will?
Ideally everybody should make a Will. However, many people are afraid to address the idea, often brushing it off as too morbid a subject.
It is especially important to have a valid Will in place if:-
– You are married/ in a civil partnership.
– Have children.
– Own property.
– Have a specific wish to make charitable donations from your Estate.
– Have certain family members you would like to make specific provision for.
What happens if I don’t make a Will?
If you do not make a Will during your lifetime, your Estate will be distributed in accordance with the rules of Intestacy upon your death. This is governed by part VI of the Succession Act 1965. Some of the more frequently encountered situations are detailed below:-
– If you are married without children your entire Estate will go to your spouse.
– If you are in a civil partnership without children your entire Estate will go to your civil partner.
– If you are married and have children your spouse is entitled to two thirds of your Estate and your children are entitled to one third.
– If you are in a civil partnership and have children, your civil partner is entitled to two thirds of your Estate and your children are entitled to one third.
– If you die a widow/ widower your children will all share equally in your Estate
What can my Will deal with?
The structure of your Will generally varie throughout different periods of your life.
Most commonly, it will direct how your assets (property, bank accounts, shares etc.) are to be distributed amongst your beneficiaries.
If you have minor children you may use your will to nominate guardians for your children as well as Trustees to look after their interests after you are gone.
If you have a child with special needs that will have specific needs going forward you may create a Trust for that child and nominate a Trustee to look after that child’s interests.
If you have any specific wishes regarding the allotment of jewellery, family heirlooms etc. then this can be specifically set out in your Will.
Why is it important to keep my Will updated?
Keeping your will updated is as important as making a Will in the first place. Your circumstances will constantly change throughout your life and it is important that your Will is amended to reflect any changes that occur. Whether it be a change of relationship status, the birth of children or grandchildren, the loss of a loved one, the acquisition or disposal or certain assets; it is important that your will is kept up to date so that if and when you do pass, adequate provision has been made for your loved ones.
If you would like to make a Will, amend an existing Will or discuss any of the above in more detail please do not hesitate to make an appointment to meet with me. Alternatively, you can email me directly at nessa[at]brophyslicitors.ie.