Question: I would like to make a will. Do I need to go to a solicitor or can I draw up the will myself?
Answer: It is important for you to make a will because, if you do not, the law on intestacy decides what happens to your property in the event of your death.
Writing a will can ensure that proper arrangements are made for your dependants and that your property is distributed in the way you wish after your death (subject to certain rights of spouses or civil partners and children).
You can draw up a will yourself or you can hire a solicitor to help you.
For a will to be legally valid, the following rules apply:
l The will must be in writing
l You must be over 18 (if you are or have been married, you can be under 18)
l You must be of sound mind
l You must sign or mark the will or acknowledge the signature or mark in the presence of two witnesses.
l Your two witnesses must sign the will in your presence
l 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.
l Your witnesses must see you sign the will but they do not have to see what is written in it.
l The signature or mark must be at the end of the will.
These are legal requirements and if any of them are not met, the will is not valid. If you want to change your will after you make it, you can add a codicil (amendment or change) to your will; this codicil must meet the requirements set out above.
You should keep an updated list of your assets. You can use a form to record where your possessions are kept.
This will make it easier to identify and trace your assets after you die. You should keep the list in a safe place.
Further information is available from citizensinformation.ie and the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000. Information is also available from your local Citizens Information Office at: Newbridge CIC, Cutlery Road, Newbridge, tel: 0761 07 8300; Naas CIC, Basin Street, Naas; tel: 0761 07 8280.