Probate – Making A Will
Lanigan Clarke solicitors offer a professional and confidential service to discuss all aspects of making your will and planning for your estate. We emphasise the importance of making a will as without one your estate will pass in accordance with the Rules of Intestacy possibly excluding partners, unmarried co-habitants and step-children.
Do I need a will?
Your will is the opportunity to make sure that your wishes after your death are implemented, and your estate is distributed to the people you would like it to go to.
By making a will:
1. Your wishes are carried out as to who inherits your property or assets on your death;
2. You can appoint guardians and trustees for your minor children;
3. Your family and your children have clear direction as to what you want to happen in the event of your death;
4. Conflict between your family members can be avoided;
5. You can change your will if circumstances change;
6. It gives peace of mind;
7. A properly planned will can save inheritance tax for your beneficiaries.
Advice & Guidance
It is often a topic that people choose to ignore or postpone. However, we believe that it is an issue which people should give serious consideration to. We will guide you through the relevant details such as tax, statutory entitlements of next of kin and trusts. Wills can be changed at any time and we advise clients review their wills to take in changed circumstances.
Most of our clients can’t believe how easy the process is. The most common reaction we often get from clients is “why did I wait so long to do that”
Below you will find our most frequently asked questions about probate and making a will if you find that your question is not listed please do not hesitate to contact us.
Why should I make a will?
We often get asked if you need a will. It is important to make a will because if you do not, the law of intestacy decides what happens to your assets. A will is the opportunity to sure that your wishes after your death are implemented, and your estate is distributed to the people you would like it to go to. If you are married, have assets and or children you should make a will. It gives guidance for your family to deal with your assets after your death.
How Much Does Making a Will in Ireland Cost?
The cost of making a will in Ireland can vary from €50 to €150. A more complicated will which deals with trusts, property abroad, and requires advice on capital gains tax and inheritance tax will cost more than a simple will. Our charges include the cost of making and safely storing the will on your behalf. Give us a call to arrange an appointment to call in, and we will go through the will-making process with you. We can give you a cost estimate for making a will when you phone for an appointment.
How long does it take to make a will?
Most clients will complete their will in a single appointment which will take less than an hour.
What happens if I don’t make a will?
How to make a will?
Is a homemade will valid?
A homemade will is valid if it satisfies the requirements of the Succession Act 1965. If the will is not executed properly in accordance with the requirements of the Succession Act it is void and will not be effective. Examples of where a homemade will is not effective are where the will is not signed or witnesses properly. A witness to a will cannot be a beneficiary in the will or it will invalidate the bequest. There are a number of circumstances where it is important to take advice to ensure that the will is valid.
In our experience many DIY, home-made or online will’s contain errors which require a court application to rectify after your death adding additional cost and stress. Many DIY, online, or home-made wills do not comply with the provisions of the Succession Act and as a result are ineffective. It is best to get our professional help to make a valid will.
An example of the dangers in drafting a will based on information on the internet was reported in the recent UK case of Henrietta Ingram & Anor v Simon Timothy Abraham & Anor reported in the Law Society Gazette August 2023.
This UK case demonstrates the danger of drafting a homemade will and the consequences of not taking proper legal advice. His Honour Judge Berkley, sitting as a judge of the High Court, found Joanne Abraham’s later will did not achieve what she wanted, which was ‘to secure the benefit of her estate for her children, apportioned to reflect their life-time gifts’. Abraham died in February 2021 of terminal bone cancer, having been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000. She was 58 and left two adult children, Henrietta and Tom, and their younger sibling Simon. Abraham, referred to as Jo in the 85-page judgment, made a will in 2008 which she altered in 2019 making Simon the executor. The 2019 will was drafted using a template from the internet.
The judgment said Joanne’s intentions were that her children would end up as equals overall, taking into account any lifetime gifts, and she was ‘trusting Simon to look after Tom and Henrietta rather than finalising things in the will’.
Finding that the 2008 will, and not the 2019 version, should be admitted to probate, the judge said Joanne ‘thought that Simon would inherit her estate to distribute it as per her orally and repeatedly expressed wishes to divide it fairly’ between her children.
He added: ‘A lawyer would recognise her intentions as for the creation of a discretionary trust in favour of Tom and Henrietta, with Simon as trustee to act in accordance with her stated intentions. ‘The formalities would have fallen rather short, but there were no lawyers involved, which is part of the problem. The 2019 will does not, of course, achieve that intention because Simon, as executor, is trustee for himself and Hilary [Simon’s wife] alone.
‘I find that what Jo wanted to achieve was to secure the benefit of her estate for her children, apportioned to reflect their life-time gifts, and that that benefit and apportionment was to be entrusted to Simon to implement. Clearly, the 2019 will did not achieve that. ‘I have little hesitation in finding that Simon and Hilary have failed to discharge the burden of proof to establish that Jo when she signed the 2019 will understood: (a) what was in the 2019 will when she signed it; and (b) (more emphatically) what its effect would be.’
Do you need a lawyer to make a will. Is it best to use a solicitor to make a will. Can I just make a will online.
Sometimes the opportunity to chat face to face, brings out complications or particular circumstances, that would not be obvious in making a home-made or online will.
We can also provide advice on taxation and inheritance tax thresholds which are a consideration when deciding who to leave your assets to.
In our experience many DIY, home-made or online wills contain errors which require a court application to rectify after your death adding additional cost and stress. Many DIY, online or home-made wills do not comply with the provisions of the Succession Act and as a result are ineffective. It is best to get our professional help to make a valid will.
What if I am not able to call into your office?
Who holds the will after I make it?
What is an executor of a will?
An executor of a will is the person nominated in your will to ensure your wishes are carried out. Your executor can be a beneficiary under the will.
What is intestacy?
If you die without making a will you are described as “intestate”. There are statutory rules as to how your estate is then distributed between your closest living relatives.
What are will and Probate Solicitors?
At Lanigan Clarke we have many years of experience dealing with the Probate Office and extracting Grants of Probate. We are also members of Solicitors for the Elderly Ireland which is an independent national association of solicitors and barristers concerned with improving the availability and delivery of specialist legal advice to older and vulnerable people, their families and carers.
Can I challenge a will?
There are certain cases where a spouse or a child can claim part of the estate under the Succession Act. For example a spouse is entitled to claim the family home notwithstanding the provisions of the will.
Subject to these exceptions wills in Ireland can only be challenged on the basis of undue influence on the person making the will or the testator was of unsound mind at the time of making a will. View more details here.
What are the main grounds to contest a will in Ireland?
The main grounds to challenge or contest a will in Ireland are:
- The will is invalid as it does not comply with the statutory requirements to make a valid will.
- Lack of testamentary capacity.
- The testator was under “undue influence” from another party at the time of making the will and the will does not reflect their own wishes.
- The will does not provide for a spouse or children in accordance with the Succession Act 1965
- The Claimant is a Cohabitant of the deceased.
View more information on contesting a will in Ireland.
Who pays the legal costs in a challenge to a will?
It is often assumed that the costs of a challenge to a will are paid from the estate This is not always the case as this recent judgement of Justice Nuala Butler shows in the case of O’Connell v. O’Connell and Anor.  IEHC 215 where she set out the principles applicable to this discretionary relief.
On the issue of costs, the court held that the nephew was not entitled to his costs from the estate for several reasons, including inter alia that the nephew ran the case in the knowledge that the legal fees would have a negative effect on the amount of the estate and the other party had made a reasonable “without prejudice” offer.
View more details in our article for Who pays the legal costs in a challenge to a will?
When is a will revoked?
If you are altering or changing your will this is a helpful guide to when you need (or need not) do. View the full article in our news section or visit here.
We are happy to liaise with your accountant, financial and tax advisors to ensure the best outcome for transferring your assets to future generations.
Administration of Estates
Our aim is to provide a professional and sensitive service at what can be a very difficult time for grieving families and friends. We liaise with financial institutions, Auctioneers, Government Departments, The Revenue Commissioners and The Probate Office to ensure that every estate is administered as quickly as possible. Where the property of a minor or a person with reduced capacity needs to be protected it may be advisable to make that person a ward of Court. We can advise and make a Wardship application where necessary.
It may be also necessary to make such an application where a person becomes of unsound mind without having created an Enduring Power of Attorney.
Enduring Power of Attorney
We have encountered countless problems facing loved ones where a person loses the capacity to manage and control their own affairs. We offer an efficient and confidential service in preparing an enduring Power of Attorney allowing you to appoint those whom you wish to manage your care, property, finances and affairs when you become incapable of making these vital decisions for yourself.
Wards of Court Applications
Where the property of a minor or a person with reduced capacity needs to be protected it may be advisable to make that person a ward of Court. We can advise and make a Wardship application where necessary.
For advice on making a will in Ireland
We offer a professional and confidential service to discuss all aspects of preparing your will and planning for your estate. Fill in our contact form below for advice and/or assistance regarding making a will.
Lanigan Clarke Solicitors Dublin
1 Landsdowne Gardens,
Shelbourne Road, Dublin 4.
Lanigan Clarke Solicitors Donegal
6A Pearse Road, Letterkenny,
Monday - Friday: 9am - 5pm
Dublin Office: 01 531 3494
Letterkenny Office: 074 91 29110