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New laws could curb disputes over wills in Ireland

The Registration of Wills Bill 2016 will introduce compulsory registration of wills in the country.

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File photo
Image: Shutterstock/Casper1774 Studio

A NEW BILL going through the Seanad today will provide a statutory basis to make sure a person’s will will no longer get lost, hidden or ignored.

The Registration of Wills Bill 2016 will implement a compulsory system whereby a person making a will, or their solicitor, to register the details of the custodian of their will.

This will reduce the risk of a will remaining unknown or being found much later, according to Fianna Fáil Senator Terry Leyden.

He said: “The current system involves solicitors holding wills in their own possession without any central authority knowing about the existence of a will. This can be problematic if the details of a will gets lost a if solicitor ceases working.

There are numerous examples of people searching for lost wills, and in many cases people are not even aware of the existence of a will in the first place.

“The legislation I have brought forward will create a mechanism for solicitors to register a will. This will ensure that the details of a will are not lost over time.”

Leyden added that these “common sense proposals” would “ultimately modernise” the process of making a will.

It is the understanding of TheJournal.ie that the bill is not being opposed by government, and will be passed later today.

A few families told their story to TheJournal.ie during the year about how the subject of wills caused huge strife among siblings and other family members. One woman detailed how her sister had taken inheritance that was due to go to her brothers and sisters.

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Mary said: “My sister is laughing all the way to the bank. We don’t speak at all. We will never speak again. All our siblings feel the same.”

This piece, written by Cork solicitor Aisling O’Leary, similarly goes into detail on what happens to your money and possessions if you die without a will.

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Sean Murray

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