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Making a Will

If you own a business, succession planning is vital and making a Will is an important step of that planning.  

What would happen to your business if you weren’t there tomorrow and into the future?

The answer will depend on your individual circumstances but is also dependent on whether your business is operated as a sole trader, a partnership or a company.  Should you divide your business assets equally between all children/successors?  It is vital to consider who, if any, of your family are involved in the business.  This is a point that requires careful thought and it is advised to discuss with your solicitor.  

What is a Will?

A Will is a witnessed document that sets out in writing a person’s wishes for his or her possessions, (called the ‘estate’), after death.  A Will should always be made based on today’s circumstances and not on a prediction of what circumstances may be in old age. If personal or business circumstances change, the Will may need to be changed too. 

When considering your beneficiaries, you must be mindful of the rights of a spouse or civil partner. Read more here.

What Happens if There is No Will in Place?

A person who dies without a will is said to have died ‘intestate’.  In this case, the State decides what happens to your possessions and your estate will be distributed as follows:

If you are survived by:  
A spouse/civil partner but no children Your spouse/civil partner gets the entire estate.
A spouse/civil partner and children Your spouse/civil partner gets two-thirds of your estate and the remaining one-third is divided equally among your children. If one of your children has died, that share goes to his/her children.
Children, but no spouse/civil partner Your estate is divided equally among your children (or their children).
Parents, but no spouse/civil partner or children Your estate is divided equally between your parents or given entirely to one parent if only one survives.
Brothers and sisters only Your estate is shared equally among them, with the children of a pre-deceased brother or sister taking his/her share.
Nieces and nephews only Your estate is divided equally among those surviving.
Other relatives only Your estate is divided equally between the nearest equal relationship.
No relatives Your estate goes to the State.

Remember that a Will only comes into effect after death.  On average, we are now living longer and end of life care is necessary more than ever before.  For these reasons, an Enduring Power of Attorney is an important document to have so that a business and personal wishes can be carried out should someone become incapable of making informed decisions .  An Advance Healthcare Directive should also be considered.  Read about Enduring Power of Attorney and Advance Healthcare Directives here.

Despite best efforts, disputes can often arise in relation to inheritance. We can help you to resolve these issues. Read more.

Our Wexford based solicitors John G. Murphy and Jason Dunne are authors of:

  • Inheritance and Succession: The Complete Irish Guide (published 2008)
  • Make your Will (published 2009)



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