Making a will provides much appreciated guidance for your loved ones

Posted on: 6th July, 2015

Category: Health & Lifestyle

Contributor: West Cork People

By Donna Wilson, Wilson Daly Solicitors, Bridge Street, Dunmanway. Telephone 023 8845796

With the emotions that loved ones go through after someone has died, I have found most people just want to know from their solicitor ‘what happens next?’. By making a will you can give your loved ones the guidance and help they need during the difficult time following death. In short, your will sets out who is to carry out the legal work and distribute your estate, and most importantly what each person is to receive from your estate. Unfortunately, always telling someone that you will give them your house or jewellery will not guarantee that they will receive it. In fact making promises, without having a will to support them, could guarantee upset, confusion and even court cases.

Modern Ireland is made up of a variety of family situations and some would say that our laws are outdated and unfair when it comes to administering a deceased person’s estate. In fact the law which dictates/directs the division of inheritance when there is no will derives from the Succession Act of 1965; family dynamics were a lot more uniform fifty years ago.

The following are only a few examples of common living arrangements that can cause hardship and large legal bills if no will is made;

Situation 1: A couple co-habit (they are not married) and only one of them owns the house/property in which they both live in. If the property owning partner dies their partner will not inherit the property; in fact if they want any chance of staying in the house they will have little or no choice but to start court proceedings.

Situation 2: A brother and sister live together in the family homestead (both parents are deceased) and perhaps there are other siblings who have settled and live elsewhere, even abroad. If only one of the siblings living in the house or on the farm legally owns it and dies without leaving a will, the house/farm will be automatically divided between all the siblings. This can be extremely unfair to the sibling who has lived in there for their whole life. They could be left in a situation where the house/farm has to be sold.

Situation 3: Perhaps you and your partner have never married but you have children together? Again if it is your partner that legally owns the property then it is possible that your children could end up owning your house over you.

By making a will you can also consider the most tax efficient way of leaving your estate to your loved ones. Spouses and civil partners inherit the whole estate tax free but this does not apply to any other relative. There are various exemptions from tax available if the right situations arise. By talking to your solicitor or accountant you can tax plan in the most efficient way.

Making a will is not a big expense – considering what it could save your family and loved ones in the future it is a mistake not to have one. The first step is to make an appointment to visit your solicitor – when making the appointment make sure to tell them it is to discuss your will.

When you visit your solicitor it helps if you have already thought about and prepared the following:

Who will be your executors? An executor is a person who you appoint to carry out the legal work and distribute your estate when you die. They can be anybody of your choosing but you must have at least one and it is preferable that you choose two executors.

Do you need to appoint trustees? If you have young children or a child with a mental disability then the trustee will look after the assets in your estate on behalf of the beneficiary. You need two trustees and your executor can also be a trustee.

Do I need to appoint guardians? A guardian is a person you choose to take over your role as parent in rearing any children who are under the age of 18 years. So if you have young children you do need to appoint a guardian/s. Make a List of your children’s names, ages and addresses if applicable. I know you know your children inside out but your solicitor doesn’t, so just write it down and hand it over at the appointment.

What are your assets? List your bank accounts, Credit Union account, Post Office account, life policies, shares in local co-ops etc. List all your property, be it in Ireland or abroad.

Once you have had your first meeting with your solicitor he/she will then proceed to draft a will for you, based on the instructions you have given. If you are well prepared going in to your solicitor, two visits is the most it should take to get your will finalised.

What happens when I die if I have not made a will? Where there is no will your estate is divided in accordance with the Rules of Intestacy. These rules specify how your estate is divided/inherited on your death. The following is a short synopsis:

1. If you have a spouse or civil partner and no children, then on your death your spouse or civil partner will inherit everything;

2. If you have a spouse or civil partner and children, then your spouse or civil partner will receive two-thirds of your estate and your children will get the remaining third.

3. If you do not have a spouse or civil partner your entire estate will go to your children.

4. If you do not have a spouse or civil partner or children then your parents are entitled to your entire estate.

5. If you do not have a spouse, civil partner, children or parents then your estate is divided equally between your brothers and sisters.

6. If you die without having any relatives your entire estate goes to the State

Remember this only applies if you do not have a will. If you make a will you can set out what you would like to happen to your estate on your death.

If you would like to discuss making a will, please contact Donna on 023 8845796. 

Latest News Articles:

West Cork girls among first to earn Irish Girl Guides’ new engineering badge
What is GDPR and who does it affect?
Kinsale historic map project launched
Dunmanway launches year-long celebration of Sam Maguire
Sam Maguire School Tour launched
Fundraising drive to get Kinsale students to World Robotics Championships to Kentucky
Answer the Call to save lives on March 23
Clonakilty students return from trip of a lifetime to rural Malawi
Clonakilty Fairtrade Fortnight celebrates 15 years
€44 million to improve Cork roads

Join us on Facebook

... See MoreSee Less

13th April, 2018  ·  

An evening on the 'Balance of Feeling Good' by Clonakilty Gaa Club Health and Wellbeing Committee followed by Guest Speaker, Cork GAA Chairperson, Tracey Kennedy.

Paddy Duggan, former Principal of Clonakilty Community College, will be MC on the night, facilitating a discussion on getting the balance of feeling good.
Contributors on the night are Colm Sheehy, Conor Murray, David Lowney, Denis Murphy, Eoghan Deasy, Sean McEvoy, Thomas Clancy and Treasa O'Brien.
Topics covered will range from awareness and responsibility to yourself and others to the benefits of exercise and nutrition.
The evening is suitable for everyone aged 16 and over from players, members of the community, parents of young and adolescent children, etc.

This is a public event, free of charge and everyone is invited and very welcome to attend.
... See MoreSee Less

12th April, 2018  ·  

The Cast of Harold Pinter’s ‘No Man’s Land’ are on their way to the All-Ireland finals, having won 26 awards, including five best of Festivals, at the Amateur Drama League of Ireland annual three act festivals. The play ‘No Man’s Land, by Harold Pinter, the Nobel Prize Winning Author is directed by Jennifer Williams.

One last opportunity to view this multi award winning play at Skibbereen Town Hall, on Saturday 14th of April, before the finals.

Having met by chance in a pub, two aging writers continue a long night of drinking and reminiscing in a stately London home. As the night wears on, their conversation wanders through memories long forgotten or invented. Is their encounter real or a delusion? Are they strangers or do they share a past history? When unexpected guests intrude upon an increasingly surreal evening, the atmosphere quickly changes from friendly to threatening, and the encounter becomes a game of survival.

Tickets may be purchased at the door or in advance by emailing

For more information please contact
... See MoreSee Less

9th April, 2018  ·  

Jump to: