The Law Society and the Dublin Solicitors Bar Association (DSBA) are highlighting the importance of talking to a local solicitor for trusted advice on making a will.
The Law Society has developed five key steps to help Dublin residents prioritise estate planning in 2022 to provide future assurance for families, their farms and businesses.
Vice-president of the DSBA, Susan Martin, said: “As we settle into 2022, we have an opportunity to take positive steps to plan for the future.
“Talking to a solicitor for trusted advice on making a will is a great place to start. People often put off making a will but in reality, setting aside time and space to consider your options can provide peace of mind for you and your loved ones.
“The Law Society and DSBA are encouraging Dublin residents to prioritise planning their estate to reflect their wishes.”
1. Why should I make a will?
“Making a will ensures that when you die your property, money and other assets, known as your estate, will be shared among the people you choose, including family, friends or even a charity close to your heart. Your will should also contain information on who you want to administer your estate. This means you can be safe in the knowledge that your wishes will be followed,” said Susan Martin.
2. How do I make a will?
“The first step in making a will is to talk to a solicitor with an expertise in wills and probate for trusted advice. Many people find planning for ill health or death overwhelming or a task that can be put off for another day, but your solicitor can discuss the process involved and guide you each step of the way.
“Even in the most complex circumstances, your solicitor will help you formally set out your wishes and ensure that any will you make is valid.”
“A will can only be considered valid if it is made in writing, the person making a will is over 18 (or if under 18, the person must have been married), has legal capacity, and it is signed by the person making the will in the presence of two witnesses who then sign in their presence,” explained Susan Martin.
“With the help of a solicitor, making a will has never been easier. If you don’t have a solicitor, you can find one online through the Law Society’s website and the ‘Find a Solicitor’ tool.”
3. When should I make a will?
“Every adult over 18 years of age should have an up-to-date will – not just older people. If you haven’t already, the best time to make a will is now,” said Ms Martin.
“It is important that your will is up-to-date and reflects your current wishes. A will made 20 years ago may not reflect your life today. For example, you might have had children since or your children may now be adults, you may now be divorced or have a new life partner, or you might have new assets or a new business to consider.”
4. What happens if I don’t make a will?
“If a person dies without making a valid will, they will have died ‘intestate’,” explained Susan Martin. “When this occurs, there are laws that set out how the estate will be divided, and means it may not always go to the people you would have chosen in a will.”
“Where there is no will, your spouse or civil partner is entitled to either all or two thirds of your estate, depending on whether you have children or not.
“The remaining one third is divided between your children. However, the law does not automatically include those in long-term relationships with no legal status, such as cohabiting couples. These are important considerations to discuss with your solicitor to avoid future distress.”
5. Where can I get more information?
“The Law Society’s Legal Guides are an excellent resource containing information on making a will, what is included in your estate and clarity on the legal terms you may encounter.”
“These guides are intended as information only and do not replace professional legal advice from your solicitor. When you are ready to make your will, you should contact your local solicitor, who can advise you each step of the way.”
Talk to your local solicitor
“As solicitors we know the importance of having a valid will and the unintentional difficulties that can arise if no will has been made or a will is not up-to-date. We encourage Dublin residents to add ‘make a will’ to your to-do list for 2022. And remember, talk to your local solicitor for trusted advice to help,” said Susan Martin.