Wills - 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. 

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Pembroke Hall, 38/39 Fitzwilliam Square,  Dublin 2
Phone: 01 455 4723      Fax: 01 455 4596

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(01) 455 4723

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