Recently, we received a letter from a local husband and wife, living in rural Ireland, asking if we could provide any information for them in Topic, to explain how they might best go about making a will. In the past week, Elaine Byrne a local solicitor, from Collinstown area, who specialises in probate and wills, described how anyone who was interested in going ahead with making a will should go about it, and her explanation is included below.
Many of us tend to put making or updating our Will on the long finger. I would urge us all, subject to public health guidelines, to attend to this. Making a Will is currently deemed to be an essential legal service.
Regarding the process, you can liaise with your solicitor by phone or virtually. A draft Will can be prepared and emailed or posted to you for consideration. Section 78 of the Succession Act 1965 provides for the execution of a Will, so that the Will should be signed by the Testator or Testatrix in the presence of two witnesses. This can be attended to, in the solicitor’s office, at your home or even while you remain in your car with your solicitor and witness remaining outside.
In preparing to make a Will, it is helpful to put together a note of your circumstances and family members; your assets; the name and address of Executor; any particular wishes or concerns and to bring ID and address verification.
If you have children under eighteen, you should consider the appointment of guardians and trustees. If you have an adult child with additional needs consideration should also be given to setting up a Trust. If your circumstances have changed, e.g. if you have separated or if in a new relationship, you should mention this to your solicitor and bring any decrees of judicial separation etc. If you are fortunate enough to have a large estate, your solicitor will discuss the tax implications of the Will with you in conjunction with a tax advisor to ensure that any possible tax reliefs are availed of, for example maximising group thresholds, agricultural relief and business relief.
If somebody passes without having a Will, the rules of Intestacy will apply. For example, if a gentleman passes leaving his wife and 3 children, 2/3rds of his estate (anything in his sole name) will go to his wife with the remaining 1/3rd being divided between his 3 children. Anything held by the gentleman in the joint names with his wife will pass to his wife by survivorship. It is possible for the family to come to an arrangement whereby the terms of the rules of intestacy would be deviated from. Any proposed arrangement should be discussed with your solicitor and tax advisor and particular attention should be paid to any tax consequences of such arrangement.
In conclusion, I would urge all readers to please consider making a Will – take action to have your Will completed and please all stay safe.”