Tips on making your will
Before making a will, think about how you would like to look after your family and friends. You may also wish to leave a gift to charity, to ensure your legacy is one that makes a difference to people in need.
The Citizens Information Office set clear requirements of a valid will:
- You must be over 18 (if you are or have been married you can be under 18)
- You must be of sound mind
- You must sign or mark the will or acknowledge the signature or mark in the presence of two witnesses.
- Your two witnesses must sign the will in your presence
- Your two witnesses cannot be people who will gain from your will and they must be present with you at the same time for their attestation to be valid. The witnesses’ spouses/civil partners also cannot gain from your will.
- Your witnesses must see you sign the will but they do not have to see what is written in it.
- The signature or mark must be at the end of the will.
- The will must be in writing
Each of these points may seem simple, but small mistakes can result in a will being overturned. Get expert help and don’t leave your affairs to chance or a costly court case!
For a gift of the residue of an estate:
“I give to (insert name of organisation) of (insert address of organisation), all (or a fraction) of the residue of my estate whatsoever and whosesoever, and I direct that the receipt of the Treasurer or other officer for the time being of the said Organisation shall be a full and sufficient discharge of the same.”
For a gift of a fixed sum or specific item:
“I give the sum of €_______ or I bequeath (the item specified) to (insert name of organisation) of (insert address of organisation), and I direct that the receipt of the Treasurer or other proper officer for the time being of the said Organisation shall be proper and sufficient discharge for the same.”
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- Decide how much you want to leave to charity.
The main choice here is whether you want to leave a fixed amount to your chosen charities, or else first make provision for your family and then leave the remainder.
- Pick a method for writing your Will.
One of the reasons why so many people die without having written a Will every year is that they don’t realise how easy writing a Will really is, unless your financial affairs or wishes are unusually complex. It is possible to do it yourself by using a template, although using a Solicitor is the safest option as it will ensure that you’re Will is valid.
- Consider inheritance tax.
Leaving money to charity will reduce the inheritance tax payable. Talk to your Solicitor and they will advise you on the best way approach to take.
- Pick your charities and find out how to leave money to them.
You’ll need to specify your chosen charity or charities after you have ensured you have taken care of your family, friends and other responsibilities first.
- Make your Will.
Now that you’ve made the key decisions you can make your Will via the method you picked in step two.
...and that’s it!
Why not take the time, visit your Solicitor and put your Will in place. It is a straight forward process and will give you the peace of mind that your family, friends, other responsibilities and charities of your choice will benefit as per your wishes when you are gone.