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Making a Will & Probate

At John A. Sinnott & Co. Solicitors we are leading practitioners in probate law. 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)

Contact us if you would like a copy of either book.

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 circumstances change, the Will should be changed too.

How to Make a Will

A Will can be made online or bought ‘off-the-shelf’ but we think it deserves more time and consideration than that!  Visit us and we will guide you through a simple 5-step process.

  • Make a list of everything you own.
  • Choose two people that you trust to appoint as your executors.  The executors will ensure that your Will is carried out.
  • Make a list of people that you want to leave something to.  These are called your beneficiaries.
  • Visit your solicitor to draft your Will
  • The draft will be worked into a document that you are happy with, you will sign it, as will two witnesses.

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

Why Make a Will?

Putting a Will in place is, without doubt, one of the most important provisions you can make for your family or partner for the future. People are slow to make wills because of natural reluctance to deal with matters concerning death and succession. The advantages, however, of having a Will are numerous and some of these are:

  • It provides peace of mind for you ensuring the transfer of property to your intended beneficiaries.
  • It ensures that those you want provided for after your death will be provided for.
  • It is cost-effective to put in place
  • It can be amended at any stage, as it does not take effect until date of death.
  • If the beneficiaries are under the age of 18 years, it will provide for the appointment of two trustees to hold the assets in trust for the benefit of the minor children.
  • It can be an effective tool for the minimisation of capital taxes i.e. gift tax or inheritance tax.

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.

Civil Partnerships

Following the commencement of the Marriage Act 2015 on 16 November 2015 which provides for same sex marriage in Ireland, civil partnerships can no longer be registered.  Therefore, the reference to ‘civil partnership’ above, only applies if the partnership was registered before 16th November 2015.   If you were in a civil partnership prior to this date you can apply to marry.  If you do so, the civil partnership is automatically dissolved.

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

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 for everyone to have so that a person’s wishes can be carried out should he/she 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.

We can assist you with the following:

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