In our experience most people don’t particularly enjoy the process of making a will. We often have clients tell us that they have been meaning to make one for years by the time they come to us. While we can appreciate that it isn’t something anyone really wants to think about, we really would encourage everyone to make one, it’s often more straightforward than you might think. The following are a number of matters to think about prior to making your will:
- Previous Wills – If you have previously made a will you will need to make your solicitor aware of this when you are making your new will. If the old will is in your possession it is advisable that you bring it with you to your appointment.
- Foreign Property – If you are lucky enough to have a holiday house in the south of France or a timeshare in Florida your Irish will won’t deal with these assets. Any property held abroad will need to be specifically dealt with in a separate will covering your property in that jurisdiction alone.
- Executors – An executor is the person who handles your affairs after your death. Among other things, they will pay any outstanding bills, gather your assets and take out a Grant of Probate, if required. It is a position of considerable responsibility and should not be appointed lightly. Although you can appoint only one executor in your will, we recommend appointing two just in case one can’t act for any reason.
- Guardians – If you are the guardian of a child under the age of 18 you should be appointing a Guardian (a testamentary guardian) for that child in your will. We always advise discussing this with the person you intend to appoint and obtaining their consent prior to making your will.
- Real Property – A home is usually the most valuable asset a person has and as such it is important that you are in a position to advise your solicitor on all details of it when making your will. Typically, a solicitor will need to know who officially owns the property, whether you the sole owner or you own the property jointly with another person. If the property is held jointly your solicitor will need to know whether you are ‘joint tenants’ or ‘tenants in common’. It is also essential, if there is a mortgage on the property, that you know whether there is a mortgage protection policy in place.
- Nominations – Various accounts and policies can be ‘nominated’ in favour of a specific person. It is very important you check whether any such nominations exist prior to making your will. If an account is nominated it passes to that person upon your death and your will has no effect on this.
The above listed matters are just a few of the matters which should be considered in advance of making your will. It goes without saying that for each client different matters will need to be considered upon contacting your solicitor. If you have any questions or would like to discuss the will-making process in more detail, please either call or email a member of our team who will be more than happy to help.