A Will is a legal document in which a person known as the Testator dictates what is to happen to their assets on their death. A Will can also be used to appoint legal and testamentary guardians for minor children and can be used to create a Trust for the benefit of minor children or vulnerable adults and those not capable of managing their own affairs.
By making a Will a person can control, through the Will, how his or her property is to be distributed among beneficiaries named in the Will. The person appoints an Executor (or Executors) in the Will who will carry out the person’s intentions and ensure that the various beneficiaries receive what is given to them in the person’s Will.
A person who dies without having made a valid Will has no control over how his or her assets are distributed on death. Instead, the Rules of Intestacy which are set out in the Succession Act 1965 dictate to whom the assets should pass.
To ensure that a person's wishes and intentions are accurately reflected in their Will it is extremely important that expert advice is sought from their solicitor when drawing up their Will. This advice will include receiving up to date advice in relation to any taxation issues which may arise. A Will speaks from death. This means that a person is free to make a new Will, or indeed any number of subsequent Wills, up to the date of their death. This ensures that the last validly made Will properly reflects a person’s wishes as to whom they want to inherit their assets on their death.
To make an appointment to discuss your Will call Samantha on (01) 4554723.
Frequently Asked Questions
- WHAT HAPPENS IF I DIE WITHOUT MAKING ANY WILL?
If you die without making a Will, the law provides that your spouse or civil partner is entitled to your entire estate if there are no children. If you leave a spouse or civil partner and children your spouse or civil partner gets two-thirds and one-third goes to your children. If you do not have a spouse or civil partner, your entire estate goes to your children. In either event, if there are children under the age of 18 years, trustees must be appointed. If a child of yours dies before you leaving children, those children take their parent’s share. If you do not have a spouse, a civil partner or children, your parents are entitled to your entire estate. If both parents are deceased, then your estate is divided between your brothers and sisters (if any brother or sister dies before you and leaves children, then those children (your nieces and nephews) take their parent’s share).
- WHAT IF I HAVE YOUNG CHILDREN?
If you have children under 18 years of age, your Will should give directions for the care of those children
and how they are to be provided for. Unmarried couples additionally should ensure that each of their
Wills clearly states who is to have custody and guardianship of their children if one of them dies. Most
importantly, both married and unmarried couples should ensure that their Wills clearly state who is to have custody and guardianship if both spouses/partners die.
- WHAT IF I’M SEPARATED, DIVORCED OR AN UNMARRIED PARTNER?
Being separated or divorced from your spouse does not mean that your spouse automatically loses the
legal right to a share of your estate; however, the rights may be cancelled under the terms of a separation agreement or judicial separation or can be cancelled by court order when there is a divorce. These provisions also apply to civil partners under legislation which was commenced in January 2011.
In the case of unmarried partners, the “partner” will have no succession rights and will therefore be limited to whatever rights he/she may establish in contract (e.g. where he/she has financially contributed to the purchase of a property) or whatever you have left for him/her under your Will. In addition, a surviving cohabitant has the right to apply to court for provision from the estate of the Deceased under the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010.
- WHAT IS AN EXECUTOR AND WHO SHOULD I APPOINT AS MY EXECUTOR(S)?
An Executor is the person appointed by you to carry out the administration of your estate and to give legal effect to the terms of your Will. Choose the person(s) best suited to carrying into effect the terms of your Will. An advantage of making a Will is that you get to choose the person(s) best suited. A minimum of two executors is recommended and, if you are a senior citizen, at least one of those should be younger than you.