Introduction: Protecting Your Legacy

Making a will in Ireland is a crucial step in planning for the future, yet it’s a task many of us hesitate to address. It involves facing our own mortality and making important decisions about what happens to our possessions after we’re gone.


A will is not just a legal requirement; it’s a practical tool for clearly stating your wishes regarding your estate, which includes your property, finances, and personal belongings.


If you have children, especially minors, a will allows you to appoint guardians and ensure their future is secure. For those living with a partner but not married, owning a home, or running a business, a will is essential to manage your assets and dictate their distribution. It’s also critical for anyone going through major life changes, like marriage or divorce, as these events often necessitate changes to your estate plans.

Within this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about making a will in Ireland. You’ll learn why it’s important, how it can help manage inheritance tax, and what the process involves, including choosing executors and understanding the role of an Enduring Power of Attorney. Our objective is to provide clear, straightforward information to help you make an informed decision about your will.

Professional legal advice is often necessary to navigate the complexities of will-making. Kevin O’Higgins Solicitors offers expert guidance to ensure your will accurately reflects your wishes and complies with legal standards.

Making A Will in Ireland: Your Complete FAQ Guide for 2024 | Kevin O'Higgins Solicitors

“Why Do I Need a Will?”

Understanding the importance of having a will is crucial for several key reasons:

Personalised Estate Distribution

A will provides the opportunity to distribute your estate according to your personal wishes. Without a will, your assets and possessions are divided according to default legal rules under the Succession Act 1965. This may not reflect your unique relationships or circumstances. A will enables you to specify beneficiaries for particular assets, ensuring that your estate is distributed precisely as you intend.

Protection and Provision for Children and Dependents

If you have children, especially minors, it’s vital to consider their future in the event of your absence. A will allows you to appoint guardians who will care for your children, making decisions about their upbringing, education, and welfare. Additionally, you can set up trusts in your will to manage and protect financial provisions for your children until they reach an age where they can manage these assets themselves.

Cohabiting Couples

For those living with a partner but not married or in a civil partnership, the law does not automatically recognise your partner as a beneficiary of your estate. A will is essential to ensure that your partner is provided for according to your wishes, as they might otherwise receive nothing under the rules of intestacy.

Complex Asset Management

Homeowners and business owners often face complex considerations when planning their estate. A will is crucial for outlining how these assets should be handled, potentially simplifying the legal process for your heirs and ensuring that your business can continue or be disposed of according to your wishes.

Life Changes and Updates

Significant life events such as marriage, divorce, or entering a civil partnership often necessitate changes to your estate plans. A will can be updated to reflect these changes, ensuring that your current circumstances and relationships are accurately represented in how your estate is managed and distributed.

Reducing Family Disputes

A well-crafted will can significantly reduce the potential for misunderstandings or disputes among family members. By clearly outlining your wishes, a will provides a roadmap for the distribution of your estate, which can help prevent conflicts during a time of grief.

Tax Planning

A will can be a tool for effective tax planning. With proper legal advice, you can structure your will in a way that minimises the inheritance tax burden on your beneficiaries, thereby maximising the value of the estate they receive.


In summary, making a will is about taking control of your estate and ensuring that your final wishes are respected. It’s a vital document for anyone who wants to provide for their loved ones, manage their assets responsibly, and leave a clear, unambiguous record of their intentions.

Making A Will in Ireland: Your Complete FAQ Guide for 2024 | Kevin O'Higgins Solicitors

“How Do I Make a Will?”

Creating a valid will in Ireland involves several key steps:

Meet Legal Criteria

You must be over 18 years old (or married) and of sound mind. Being of sound mind means understanding the nature of the will and its consequences, and having an awareness of the assets you possess and whom you want to benefit from them.

Document in Writing

Your will must be a written document. It can be typed or handwritten, but it must clearly state your intentions regarding the distribution of your estate.

Comprehensive Asset Listing

Include detailed information about all your assets. This should cover everything from properties and investments to savings and personal possessions. If you own assets abroad, consider how different countries’ laws might affect your will, as some assets might require separate wills under different jurisdictions.

Selecting Executors and Guardians

Choose one or more executors who will carry out the instructions in your will. If you have minor children, appointing guardians in your will is essential. Ensure these individuals are trustworthy and capable of managing the responsibilities.


Your will must be signed in the presence of two independent witnesses, who must also sign the document. These witnesses cannot be beneficiaries of the will to avoid conflicts of interest.

Professional Legal Advice

While it’s possible to draft a will on your own, consulting with a solicitor ensures that all legal requirements are met and your will is comprehensive. A solicitor can also advise on complex issues like tax implications and provide guidance on structuring your will to best meet your intentions.

Regular Updates

Life changes such as marriage, divorce, having children, or acquiring significant assets warrant a review and potential update of your will. Keeping your will up-to-date ensures that it always reflects your current wishes and circumstances.


Creating a will is a proactive step in managing your estate and ensuring that your assets are distributed according to your wishes. It provides clarity and peace of mind, not just for you but also for your loved ones. 

Making A Will in Ireland: Your Complete FAQ Guide for 2024 | Kevin O'Higgins Solicitors

Preparing Your Will: What Does My Solicitor Need?

When preparing your will with a solicitor, having the right information ready is crucial for a comprehensive and legally sound document:

Personal Identification

Basic information like your full name, current address, date of birth, and nationality helps in clearly identifying you as the testator.

Family and Dependent Details

Information about your spouse or civil partner, children, or any other dependents. This includes their names, addresses, dates of birth, and the nature of your relationship with them.

Detailed Asset Inventory

A thorough list of your assets, including properties, bank accounts, investments, valuable personal items, and any business interests. Also, disclose liabilities such as loans or debts.

Specific Bequests

Detailed instructions on who should inherit specific items or sums of money. This can include both monetary assets and sentimental items.

Executor and Guardian Choices

Names and contact details of your chosen executor(s) and, if applicable, guardians for any minor children. Include why you have chosen these individuals and any specific instructions related to their roles.

Funeral Wishes

Though not legally binding, expressing your preferences for funeral arrangements can be included in the will for guidance.

Special Circumstances

Details of any unique situations, such as previous marriages, children from different relationships, or international assets, which may require special consideration in estate planning.

Legal Rights and Provisions

Awareness of any statutory entitlements or legal provisions that may affect your will, particularly concerning spouses, civil partners, and children.


Providing this comprehensive information enables your solicitor to draft a will that accurately reflects your wishes and ensures that all legal aspects are appropriately addressed.

Making A Will in Ireland: Your Complete FAQ Guide for 2024 | Kevin O'Higgins Solicitors

Amending a Will: What You Should Know

Amending your will is not only possible but often necessary as life circumstances change:

Codicils for Minor Changes

For small updates or changes, such as altering a bequest or changing an executor, you can add a codicil to your will. A codicil is a supplementary document that must be executed with the same legal formalities as the original will, including being signed and witnessed.

Creating a New Will for Major Changes

Significant life events, like the birth of a new child, marriage, or acquiring substantial property, may necessitate a complete revision of your will. In such cases, drafting a new will is advisable. This new will should explicitly state that it revokes all previous wills and codicils.

Consult a Solicitor for Amendments

Making amendments to your will can be complex, particularly when ensuring that the changes are legally valid and don’t inadvertently affect other provisions of the will. A solicitor can provide valuable guidance in this process, ensuring that your amended will accurately reflects your current wishes and remains legally sound.


Regularly reviewing and updating your will is crucial to ensure that it continues to reflect your current situation and wishes accurately. This proactive approach can prevent potential legal complications and ensure that your estate is managed as you intend.

Making A Will in Ireland: Your Complete FAQ Guide for 2024 | Kevin O'Higgins Solicitors

The Risks of DIY Wills: Why Professional Legal Advice Matters

 Creating a will without a solicitor can introduce several risks and complications:

Legal Validity Concerns

A will must meet specific legal criteria to be valid. This includes correct execution, clear language, and appropriate witnessing. Any oversight in these areas can render the will invalid or open to legal challenges.

Complexity in Asset Distribution

Particularly for those with substantial or diverse assets, including those overseas, drafting a will can be complex. A solicitor can help navigate these complexities, ensuring all assets are appropriately accounted for and planned.

Risk of Ambiguities

Without professional legal advice, there’s a higher risk of ambiguous wording or incomplete clauses, which can lead to disputes among beneficiaries or misinterpretation of your intentions.

Updating and Amending

Understanding how and when to update a will is crucial. A solicitor can advise on the impact of life changes on your will and help ensure any amendments are legally sound.

Tax Implications

Inheritance tax considerations and opportunities for tax planning can be intricate. A solicitor can provide advice on how to structure your estate efficiently to minimise the tax burden on your beneficiaries.


While it’s possible to create a will independently, the benefits of legal guidance in ensuring the will’s validity and effectiveness are significant.

Making A Will in Ireland: Your Complete FAQ Guide for 2024 | Kevin O'Higgins Solicitors

Why Use a Solicitor When Making Your Will?

A solicitor provides crucial assistance in the will-making process:

Ensure Legal Compliance

Solicitors have the expertise to ensure your will meets all legal requirements, safeguarding against potential disputes or invalidity.

Tailored Estate Planning Advice

They offer personalised advice considering your unique family dynamics, asset portfolio, and future plans. This can include strategies for asset distribution, guardian appointments for children, and provisions for dependents.

Complex Situations

For those with assets in multiple countries or complicated family situations, solicitors can provide valuable guidance on international estate laws and family law considerations.

Tax Efficient Planning

A solicitor can help you understand the tax implications of your estate and advice on structuring your will to optimise tax efficiency.

Updating and Amending Your Will

Legal professionals can assist in updating your will in response to life changes, ensuring that these amendments comply with legal standards and reflect your current wishes.


A solicitor’s involvement in making your will can provide peace of mind that your estate will be managed and distributed as you intend, with consideration given to all legal and personal aspects.

Listen to Kevin O’Higgins’ recent advice on drafting a will alongside an experienced solicitor.

Making A Will in Ireland: Your Complete FAQ Guide for 2024 | Kevin O'Higgins Solicitors

What Happens if I Don’t Make a Will?

Dying without a will (intestate) leads to your estate being distributed according to standard legal procedures, which may not align with your personal wishes:

Legal Distribution of Assets

In the absence of a will, your estate is distributed based on the rules of intestacy outlined in the Succession Act 1965. This often results in a standard division of assets among surviving family members.

Impact on Unmarried Partners

For cohabiting partners not in a civil partnership or marriage, the lack of a will means they are not automatically entitled to any part of your estate, potentially leading to financial hardship.

Guardianship of Minor Children

Without a will specifying guardianship, decisions about the care of your minor children are left to the courts. This may result in arrangements that don’t align with your preferences.

Potential for Family Disputes

The absence of clear directives can lead to disputes among family members, complicating and prolonging the estate settlement process.

State Claims on Estate

Where no legal heirs can be identified, your estate could ultimately be claimed by the state.


Having a will in place ensures that your estate is managed and distributed according to your specific wishes, providing clarity and direction during a difficult time.

Making A Will in Ireland: Your Complete FAQ Guide for 2024 | Kevin O'Higgins Solicitors

Conclusion: Securing Your Future

The creation of a will is an essential step in safeguarding your legacy and ensuring your wishes are honoured. It’s more than a legal requirement; it’s a crucial plan for the future of your estate, providing clear direction on how your assets, from family heirlooms to business interests, should be managed and distributed. A well-crafted will offers peace of mind, not only to you but also to your loved ones, ensuring that there are no uncertainties or disputes regarding your estate.


At Kevin O’Higgins Solicitors, we understand the intricacies of will-making and are committed to guiding you through every step of this important process. Our expertise covers everything from straightforward wills to more complex estate planning involving international assets or specific tax considerations. We are dedicated to ensuring that your final testament truly reflects your personal wishes and provides for your loved ones most effectively.


For tailored advice and support, contact Kevin O’Higgins Solicitors today. We can assist you in creating a will that not only meets legal standards but also serves as a lasting testament to your life and values, offering assurance and clarity for the future.

Making A Will in Ireland: Your Complete FAQ Guide for 2024 | Kevin O'Higgins Solicitors