Articles - Learn About Irish Wills!


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How to Make a Will In Ireland!

What is a Will?
A will is a legal document that allows you to express your desires and intentions regarding the distribution of your property following your death. A will enables you to apportion your belongings directly to your family and loved ones.

Why Make a Will?
There are many benefits to making a will and very few drawbacks. Perhaps the biggest benefit is that it allows you to dictate, via a clear legal document, how you want your assets distributed following your death. This is particularly important if you are married or have children as, in each case, you will no doubt want to provide appropriately for your loved ones. In the absence of having a will, the ‘rules of intestacy’ (which apply where a person dies without making a will) will determine how your assets are distributed amongst your heirs. As the definition of ‘heirs’ only includes family members, this distribution may not be in accordance with your wishes!

What are the Main Advantages of Making a Will?

  • making a will avoids Intestacy;

  • making a will allows you to appoint an executor;

  • making a will enables you to appoint guardians for your children; and

  • a will allows you to pass items to your loved ones.

Intestacy & What Happens Without a Will?
When a person dies without making a will or if their will cannot be located, is deemed false or invalid (for not meeting the statutory requirements described below), it’s called dying intestate. The Succession Act, 1965 has a set of statutory rules governing who is entitled to receive a person’s property if they die intestate. These rules are commonly known as the ‘rules of intestacy’ or the ‘rules of intestate succession’.

Quite often, the application of the rules of intestacy results in the distribution of a deceased person’s property in a manner that they would never have wanted. This is because the rules set out a list of people (known as ‘heirs’) who are entitled to receive shares in the deceased’s property; as well as the amount of these shares and the order in which they are entitled to receive them. The specific order in which they are entitled to receive is set out in the graph below. 


What are the Main Disadvantages of Not Making a Will?

  • The high costs of probate will dramatically reduce the amount of wealth transferred to loved ones.

  • Your estate may not be divided in accordance with your wishes

  • The courts will appoint an executor who will then decide how to distribute your estate

How to Make a Valid Will in Ireland
The Succession Act 1965 sets out the minimum requirements for a will to be valid. Specifically, it must:

  • be made by a person who has reached the age of 18 years;  

  • be made by a person voluntarily and without pressure from any other person;

  • be made by a person who is of ‘sound and disposing mind’. Being of ‘sound and disposing mind’ is generally taken to mean someone who understands:

  • what a will is;

  • that they are making a will;

  • the general extent of their property;

  • who their heirs and family members are; and

  • the way in which their will proposes to distribute their property (and, of course, to be satisfied with that.)

  • be in writing;

  • be signed by the testator in the presence of two witnesses;

  • be signed by the witnesses in the presence of the testator (after he has signed it) and in the presence of each other. A beneficiary under the will or the spouse of such a beneficiary should not act as a witness to the signing of the will. If they do, the gift to the beneficiary under the will shall be deemed to be invalid, although the will itself will remain valid; and

  • include an attestation (signing) clause.

If the above requirements are not complied with, the will may be deemed to be invalid in which case the rules of intestacy will apply.


What Should I Do Next? Next You Should Make Your Will  provides two options to make your will, all of which were created and designed by Irish Solicitors.

  • Our online will enables you to create your own will in around 20 minutes. Our online Will systems is the most advanced online system, not just in Ireland but worldwide, you can even leave gifts to charity, release a person from a debt or specify which assets should be used to pay estate taxes. Also included is easy to use help system which takes you through the process from start to finish. It’s free to try and you can start to Make Your Will Now!

  • Our second option is our Last Will & Testament Kit. Our kit provides an in depth understanding of the various areas and sources of Irish law surrounding the making of your will. Everything from intestacy to guardians to executors is covered. The kit comes with ready to use will forms which will enable you to create your will quickly & easily. Read more about our Last Will & Testament Kit.

For more detailed information on the topic above and other issues relating to Irish wills, read our Last Will & Testament Kit written by an Irish Solicitor to answer all your questions.




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