Wills and Probate

Wills and Probate

Should I make a will? This is a common question which Thorpe & Taaffe is asked on a daily basis. The short answer is yes, making a will is a simple straight forward means of catering for your wishes in the case of your death.

At Thorpe & Taaffe  we provide a professional will drafting and updating service, and offer comprehensive advice on all areas of wills and probate

While costs vary depending on the complexity of the will, a standard will can cost from just €100 per person.

For further information, or to arrange a first consultation or quote call 01 8344959, or email us at info@thorpetaaffe.ie

What is a will?

A will is a witnessed document that sets out in writing the deceased's wishes for his or her possessions, (called his or her 'estate'), after death.

When should I make a Will?

Actually, right now! Dont wait "until the time is right to make your Will". A Will can always be changed as your circumstances change. It is important to note that if you do not leave a Will your assets shall be distributed according to the Rules of Intestacy rather than according to your wishes.

You should also make a Will and/or review your Will at cerain milestones in your life;

1. After marriage/remarriage or civil partnership. It is important to note that marriage and civil partnership revokes a Will. Therefore, if you do not make a new Will, your estate will be distributed according to the Rules of Intestacy.

2. After a separation/divorce.  Separation/divorce does not revoke a Will. When you separate from your spouse it does not mean that your spouse automatically loses their right to his/her legal right share of your estate. If you are separated and are completing your Will you should furnish your solicitor with a copy of your signed separation agreement/divorce.

3. Long-term relationship but have not married, cohabiting or entering into a Civil Partnership.

4. After a spouses death; if you left a significant proportion of your estate to your spouse in your Will, you will need to update your Will.

5. The birth of a child. You will need to change your Will to provide for the child and also to appoint trustees and guardians for you child in the event that something should happen to you and your spouse. Also a change in your child's circumstances such as if your child gets separated or divorced. This is particulary important where an individual intends to leave valuable assets to a child in their Will.

6. After the death of one of your heirs, if your heir dies before you, you may need to change your Will to reflect this change.

7. Your assets may have altered significantly, either the value of the asset or you may no longer own an asset or you may have acquired additional assets which you may want to deal with in your Will.

8. Changes in tax law.

If I make a Will, can I change it, and how?

Yes. Provided of course you have the mental capacity to change your Will. It is quite common for people to change their Will regularly. It is important that you review your Will on a regular basis. You cannot change things in your Will by simply crossing out something in your Will and writing additional parts into your Will There is a particular process involved and legal requirements to be met.

You can change your Will in two ways:

By making a new Will, by creating a new Will this will supersede your current Will.
By making a Codicil, which is an addition/extension to your original Will. A Codicil can be useful when you want to add, change, or delete a part of your Will. But in the case where you wish to make a number of changes to your Will It would be advisable to complete a new Will.

Please contact us if you are considering altering your Will and/or wish to make a Codicil as the Codicil needs to make reference to the particular part of your Will that you are amending and Codicil should also be signed and witnessed in the same way as a Will.

How do I cancel my Will?

This can be done in a number of ways:

By a subsequent Will or codicil, simply by making a valid new Will it will revoke your previous Will.
By a subsequent marriage or civil partnership. Marriage and Civil Partnerships automatically revoke a Will.
By declaring, in writing, a clear intention to revoke a Will.
By burning, tearing or destroying a previous Will with the clear intention of revoking the Will.

I want to contest a Will, what should I do?

While a person is free to deal with their assets as they wish in their Will, the law does impose certain restrictions in particular in relation to a persons children and spouse. Challenging a Will can be a complex matter and you will need expert legal advice. We have particular expertise in this area and can advise you on your legal rights and the process involved.

For further information, please contact us at info@thorptaaffe.ie or on 01 834 4959 to make a convenient appointment.

Can a beneficiary witness my Will?

No, not if you would like them to receive something under the Will. If a beneficiary in your Will or their spouse witnesses your Will they cannot receive a benefit in your Will.

The law is very clear. Section 85 of the Succession Act, 1965 states that in circumstances where a person who witnesses the execution of the Will and also stands to benefit under the Will then the devise, bequest, estate, interest, gift or apportionment shall be “utterly null and void”. We can arrange for your Will to be witnessed correctly and ensure that all the requirements of making a valid Will are complied with.

Does marriage revoke a previous Will?

Principally, yes. If you get married or enter into a Civil Partnership any previous Will that you made is revoked. However, there is an exception to this and that is where a Will was made in contemplation of marriage or Civil Partnership and that fact is expressed in the Will.

Does divorce revoke a previous Will?

In Ireland, divorce does not revoke your previously made Will. Divorce will have no effect on your Will or any specific provisions relating to your former spouse in your Will. The best advice is to make an entirely new Will without any delay.

What happens if you die having made a will?

If you have made a will, you are called a testator (male) or testatrix (female). A person who dies having made a valid will is said to have died 'testate'. If you die testate, then all your possessions will be distributed in the way you set out in your will. It is the job of the executor or executors you named in your will to make sure this happens.

What happens if you die without a will or your current will is invalid?

A person who dies without a will is said to have died 'intestate'. If you die intestate, this means your estate, or everything that you own, is distributed in accordance with the law by an administrator. To do this, the administrator needs permission in the form of a Grant of Representation. When a person dies without a will or when their will is invalid, this Grant is issued as Letters of Administration by the Probate Office or the District Probate Registry for the area in which the person lived at the time of death.

Distribution of your estate when you die intestate or have not made a valid will

The legal rules governing the distribution of your property apply:

  • When you have not made a will
  • When the will has been denied probate because it has not been made properly or a challenge to it has been successful
  • When the will does not completely deal with all your possessions

In these cases, after debts and expenses have been deducted, the estate is distributed in the following way.

If you are survived by:

  • A spouse but no children (or grandchildren): your spouse gets the entire estate.
  • A spouse and children: your spouse 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: your estate is divided equally among your children (or their children).
  • Parents, but no spouse 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 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.
Please consider a bequest to charity in your Will:
http://www.sfh.ie (St Francis Hospice) and http://www.focusireland.ie (Focus Ireland)​