What Happens if I Don’t Make a Will?

If you die without a Will, you are said to have died ‘intestate’. This has a number of consequences that you might not be aware of.

The state decides who gets what

If you die without a Will, the state decides who receives your assets, including your money, property and personal possessions. This is determined by the Irish laws of intestacy. The law creates an order of priority so that your next of kin benefits most from your estate. For instance, if you are survived by a spouse but no children, your spouse receives everything. Some people have few remaining family members, so their estate ends up going to distant relatives. If no relatives can be found, your entire estate is handed to the state.

Your wishes may not align with the intestacy laws. You might want to give gifts to charity, to friends or to relatives other than your next of kin. Therefore, if you have strong wishes about who you would like to receive your assets when you are gone, you need to make a Will. Otherwise, the decision is taken out of your hands. It does not matter if you have expressed wishes verbally while you are alive – they do not count unless they are formally set out in a Will.

Unmarried partners get nothing

The Irish intestacy laws do not automatically provide for unmarried partners. This means that if you are not married to your partner, or you are not in a civil partnership, he/she could receive nothing after your death. This can be devastating for some people, who may be forced out of their home after their partner’s death. Other assets, such as their partner’s car, money and pension, can also be taken away from them.

If you have been living together for five years, or you have been living together for two years and have a child, you may qualify as a ‘cohabitant’. If so, you can ask to receive provisions from a deceased partner’s estate. Even so, this requires a court application which may not be approved. So, if you want to provide for your partner in the event of your death, you must make a Will. If you don’t, he or she could be left with nothing.

The state decides what happens to your children

If you have children, a Will allows you to name legal guardians for them. These people will care for your children, should both parents pass away. If you do not make a Will and your children are orphaned, the state must decide what happens to them instead. This may result in your children being cared for by someone you would never have chosen. This is upsetting for any parent to think about.

A Will allows you to protect your children and other vulnerable beneficiaries. It also allows you to secure their future, as you can incorporate trusts into your Will. This enables you to ringfence money and assets for their personal use.

Contact us now – Wills solicitor Ireland

If you want to avoid the consequences of dying intestate, you need to make a Will sooner, rather than later. To get started, contact us today. We are client focused and results driven.

Call us on 051 391 488 or email reception@mullinstreacy.ie for a no obligation enquiry.

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