herald

Tuesday 21 August 2018

My solicitor is urging me to make a will... do I really need one?

Denise should listen to her solicitor. Once a person begins to acquire assets such as a house or savings, then it is vital that they make a will no matter what age they are. None of us know either the time or the hour of our departure.

If, like Denise, you are single and die without having made a will, or intestate to use the legal jargon, you can leave a dreadful mess behind you.

By not setting out your intentions clearly in advance, there is enormous scope for family feuds and squabbles in the event of your unexpected death.

Even if your family behave themselves, by dying intestate you make things very awkward.

An official administrator will be appointed to distribute your estate.



INTESTATE

If you die intestate and have no relations, your entire estate will go to the State.

Making a will is very simple.

A will should contain your name and address, the date on which it was made, a section revoking all previous wills, a clause naming at least one and preferably two executors, a list of gifts of money and property to the beneficiaries of the will, your signature and those of two witnesses (who can't be beneficiaries of the will), and a declaration that the will complies with the terms of the 1965 Succession Act.

In addition, you must be either at least 18, or have been or be married, to make a valid will.

It is possible for someone to make a will without employing the services of a solicitor. However, unless it is a very simple estate that is probably not a very good idea.

If you draw up a DIY will and it is ruled to be invalid after your death then your estate will be treated as if you died intestate. Far better to use a solicitor to make sure that the will is valid. Expect to pay about €200 plus VAT.

This means that your estate will be distributed according to your wishes after your death.

Most home insurance companies will cover water damage caused by burst pipes.

However, the insurance company may ask what precautions if any were taken to prevent the pipes from freezing.

Even if it doesn't, you can expect a big increase in the cost of your home insurance next year if you claim for water damage caused by burst pipes.

If the damage was relatively slight and the insurance claim is a small one, then Una should contact the insurance company and make the claim herself.

If, however, there is a lot of damage and she thinks that the claim is going to be a big one, then she should consider using a loss adjuster to assess the damage and the likely cost of repairing it.

The loss adjuster will then, in return for a fee, submit the claim on her behalf.

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