The proper drafting and signing of a Will has never been more important. In an age of increasing prosperity in Ireland, making a will ensures that a sufficient outline has been drawn up regarding your property, money, and other possessions with specific instructions about who they will pass to once you die.
Assuming that your will is valid, any debts that you have accrued and owe will be paid from your estate, and the remaining assets will be distributed to the people named in your will. The ‘executor’ (or executors) of your will is usually the person responsible for carrying out your wishes after you pass.
In the event that you pass without having made a will, you will have died ‘intestate’. This means that an administrator will pay any of your outstanding debts from your estate, and then distribute those assets among your living relatives. However, this will result in a process that is usually more complicated and expensive than it would be with a legitimate will, which is why it is of the utmost importance that a valid will is drawn up prior to your death.
In order for a will to be considered valid in Ireland, there are six crucial criteria that must be met. These include that the will:
- Be made in writing.
- Be made by a person (the testator) who is over 18 years old, or has been married.
- Has been made by a testator that has capacity to make a will.
- Has been signed or marked by the testator of the will, at the end of the document, and acknowledged in the presence of two witnesses.
- Has been signed by the testator’s two witnesses in the presence of the testator.
- Neither of the testator’s witnesses – or their spouses or civil partners – receive anything in the will. Gifts to them will not be effective.
While there is nothing stopping an individual from drawing up their own will, it is strongly recommended that you employ the services of a solicitor to ensure that your will is legally valid and devoid of any mistakes that could potentially invalidate its content.
Obtaining the services of a solicitor when making your will ensures that the document meets the necessary legal requirements, avoiding any potential consequences that could result in prolonged and costly legal battles for loved ones after the testator’s death.
*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.*