The Law Society of Ireland is encouraging people to take steps to plan ahead and ensure their wishes are legally protected in the event of ill-health or death.
Law Society President Michele O’Boyle said the correct drafting and execution of wills was one of the areas of legal practice that remained vital to Irish people and businesses during the pandemic.
“The Law Society’s advice is now, as always: talk to your solicitor,” the president said, explaining how the process would generally work during the pandemic.
“Where possible, your solicitor will take detailed instructions over the telephone and a draft version of the document may be sent by email. You will then be able to review the will, and make any changes that may be needed,” she said.
For clients who do not have access to email, smartphones or other technology, the solicitor may post a draft will for review, or review and discuss the draft in detail over the telephone.
The Law Society says it is critical that clients ensure they are satisfied that the final version of the will reflects their wishes.
The solicitor will make arrangements to ensure that the final version is validly executed by the client in accordance with the law, and deal with any other issues that may arise.
“There are strict legal conditions surrounding the execution of a will in the Succession Act, 1965 and these must be met even in a time of social distancing. The Law Society has provided detailed practice guidance to solicitors to ensure that wills can continue to be validly executed during this time,” Ms O’Boyle explained.
She added that this may be an opportunity for people to consider planning beyond a will, should they become unable to make decisions due to illness or accident.
“We know that only a small proportion of Irish adults have legally appointed an Attorney, under an Enduring Power of Attorney, to make legal and financial decisions, should they become unable to do so,” Ms O’Boyle said.