Wills – An Overview
Why Do I Need to Make a Will?
Making a Will is an important practical step to take in order to make sure that you have control over what happens to your property and assets after your death. If you do not have a Will, and you are permanently resident or ‘domiciled’ in Ireland, it is the Irish State who decides who inherits your estate under the rules of intestacy after your death. Complicated rules apply if you die without having made a Will, leaving assets in multiple countries.
You can appoint people you know and trust in your Will to look after your estate and be your executors. If you have children, it is vital that you consider who you will appoint as their legal guardians should anything happen to you and you can do this in your Will. You may also want to look after particular members of your family, close friends or your favourite charity by making specific provision for them in your Will. Also, if you have a large estate, you would be best advised to obtain estate planning advice from your legal advisor prior to having your Will drawn up to ensure that your estate will be dealt with in the most tax efficient manner. Having a properly drafted Will can make sure that your estate is dealt with efficiently and can avoid disputes during a difficult time for your family and it will give you peace of mind that your affairs are in order. If you own assets in another country you would be best advised to obtain legal advice in that jurisdiction with a view to potentially reducing taxation and avoiding forced heirship rules.
What Should Be Included in My Will?
We recommend that you choose two executors in your Will who will carry out your wishes. These should be people that are competent and trustworthy and who would be willing to take on the responsibility of ensuring that your wishes are carried out. Your executors can be people who will benefit from your Will. There are rules in relation to what spouses, civil partners and children are entitled to inherit under a Will which is why it is vital to get proper legal advice before signing a Will. You can set out in your Will who else you would like to benefit from your estate and in what proportion. You can also set up a trust in your Will which is helpful if, for example, you would like a fund to be set up for the benefit of your children to ensure that their future education needs are provided for out of your estate. The trustees can be the same people as your executors.
Can I Change My Will?
Yes, you can change your Will at any time and we would recommend that you review your Will upon the happening of a significant life event such as the birth of a child or changes in tax legislation which would adversely affect benefits passing under your existing Will. Your Will may need to be changed if you have separated or divorced since executing your last Will. Your Will is automatically revoked on your marriage. You may also have more children or grandchildren and wish to include them in your Will. Also, if your estate has grown significantly since your last Will, estate planning advice from your legal advisor should be sought.
Can Anyone Challenge My Will?
Any person who claims to have an interest in an estate can challenge a Will in Ireland. There are a number of ways in which a Will can be challenged and these are dealt with in further detail here.
Can I Write My Own Will?
Whilst it is possible to make a ‘homemade’ Will, we would not recommend that you do this under any circumstances. There is a great risk that the Will be invalid due to non-compliance with the technicalities of the law regarding the execution of Wills. At Amorys we provide a comprehensive Wills service for our clients to ensure that their wishes can be carried out. You will have the benefit of our extensive experience in this area of the law whether your estate is very complex or straightforward we can make the right Will for you.
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