What is a Will?
A Will is a witnessed formal document that sets out in writing your wishes and intentions for your possessions (called your ‘estate’) after your death. You may make as many Wills as you wish, but the only relevant one is the last valid Will made before your death.
In your will you are referred to as the ‘testator’ (male) or ‘testatrix’ (female). For a Will to be valid in Ireland, you as the testator / testatrix must:
- Be aged 18 or over (or be/have been married)
- Act of your own free will
- Have decision-making capacity at the time the Will is written and signed
- Know the nature and extent of your property and be able to say all of the people who may expect to benefit from your estate
- The Will must be in writing
- The Will must be signed at the end by you. This ‘signature’ can be your initials, or if you are unable to sign, then it can be a mark made by you. If you cannot make a sign or mark then you must direct someone else to do so in your presence
- You must make your signature or sign in the presence of two witnesses, both present at the same time
- The witnesses must also sign your Will in your presence, but not necessarily in each other’s presence
- A witness (or his/her spouse) cannot benefit under the Will
The purpose of a Will is to let you decide what happens to your money, property and possessions after your death. If you have made a Will then all your possessions will be distributed in the way you set out in your Will. The executor or executors you named in your Will have the obligation to make sure this happens. You can write your Will yourself, however it is advisable that you seek independent legal advice. Legal advice will ensure your Will is interpreted in the way you want it to be and that the legal formalities are properly followed.