The Covid 19 pandemic has given many of us cause to reflect on our mortality. As part of this reflection, we would encourage everyone (over the age of 18) to consider making a Will. Ambiguity, uncertainty and mixed messages are the principal causes of the majority of probate disputes and can be avoided with a well thought out and considered Will. A properly drafted, valid Will gives certainty and clarity to those you leave behind.
Below we have set out five of the key considerations to bear in mind when making your Will.
If you have children under the age of 18 you should appoint Guardians, who, in the event of your death, would step into your shoes and take care of your children. You and your partner will have to agree on suitable Guardians. You should talk to and get the consent of those you are considering appointing as Guardians and satisfy yourself that they are capable and willing to fulfill these duties.
These are the individuals who will be legally responsible for the administrative duties involved with, obtaining Probate and discharging the instructions and bequests in your Will. We would always advise appointing two Executors. Being an Executor can be an onerous duty.
- Your assets
You should prepare a list of all your assets, cash, savings, pension, property, bank accounts, etc., and a list of your liabilities. Depending on the nature of the assets you hold your Solicitor, in consultation with your Accountant/Tax Advisor may be in a position to advise as to the most prudent way to structure your affairs, so as to ensure that any bequests left are done so in the most tax-efficient manner possible.
- Foreign Property
In the event that you own a property abroad, you should ensure that you have a Will in that specific Country dealing with the specific assets in that jurisdiction only. Your Irish Will should reflect this and make explicit reference to the fact that it is dealing solely with your Irish assets.
- Changing Circumstances
Your Will is a living document and should be reviewed on a regular basis. For example, if your Guardians or Executors are not in a position to act then your Will should be amended to provide for suitable replacements. Similarly, if your personal circumstances change and it is necessary to make specific provisions for one child over another, again your Will should be amended. Your Will is not “one and done” and should be reviewed on a semi-regular basis.
The above are just some issues worth considering when drafting you’re Will. Your Will is an extremely important document and it is important to get it right. While the option of downloading a Will online or filling out a template Will may be attractive, ultimately it may well cause more problems than it solves. Accordingly, we would always encourage you to speak to your Solicitor and get advice from an experienced practitioner who would be able to guide you through the process and draft a bespoke Will for your specific circumstances.