Making a will in Ireland is a seemingly straightforward task but can go disastrously wrong and open up a can of worms for those left behind if not done properly.
The requirements for a valid will in Ireland are set out in the Succession Act, 1965 and you can read more about the requirements for a valid will elsewhere on our site.
Why make a will in Ireland?
Put simply, making a will ensures that you dictate how your assets will be distributed on your death and who will administer your estate.
Failure to make a will in Ireland will see an intestacy situation arising and who gets what will then be largely determined by the Succession Act 1965 with the Rules of the Superior Courts, 1986 (Order 79,rule 5) determining who is entitled to extract a grant of letters of administration intestate.
However there are four further reasons why you should make a will-
1) It will allow you to provide for the special needs of family members and
2) It can lead to good taxation planning with the minimum amount of tax going to the Government and
3) It is cheaper and faster to administer an estate with a Grant of Probate rather than a Grant of Letters of Administration Intestate and
4) An insurance bond will need to be taken out for an intestacy situation.
Further considerations in making a will
There are a number of significant considerations about which you should be advised when making a will and which you should consider.
Section 98 of the Succession Act, 1965
Section 98 of the Succession Act, 1965 deals with a situation where a child (who him/herself leaves children) who is to benefit from an estate predeceases a testator.
If this occurs then Section 98 determines that the benefit does not lapse but goes into the estate of the deceased child. This could mean, depending on his/her will that the original benefit will go to the surviving spouse of that child and not to the grandchildren.
This may not have been the intention of the original testator but there is nothing that can be done about it post death; you can make provision to prevent this happening while drafting your will though.
This is one of many unintended outcomes which may arise if you are not advised professionally when having your will drafted.
For this reason it is strongly advised that you have your will drafted by a solicitor who can advise you as to the various outcomes and nuances that you might want to guard against.