Recent research reveals that only three in every ten Irish people have drafted a will in preparation for their death(1). Death is rarely a straightforward business and preparing for the future by getting important affairs in order gives peace of mind. It also provides certainty for loved ones around important issues such as deciding upon a burial versus cremation, considering an enduring power of attorney or organising finances. As part of this preparation, engaging with a local solicitor on drafting or updating a will is vital. The research, conducted by Amarach in September 2015, found that over a quarter of those surveyed have benefited from a will but despite this, only 50% of Irish people have engaged with any of the practicalities around preparing for their own death, from making a will to discussing their wishes with family(1).

Best Will Week 2014 saw over 504 expert solicitors offer initial will consultations to Irish people. My Legacy estimate, based on solicitor feedback, that 1,970 will consultations took place during the week and approximately 1,800 wills were made. It is also estimated that over 430 gifts were left to Irish charities[2].

When a person in Ireland dies without a will, their estate is divided among family members on the basis of rules laid down in the Succession Act 1965. If no beneficiaries can be found, the person’s estate, including property and savings, revert to the State’s intestate funds deposit account.

As well as encouraging people to engage with their local solicitor to arrange an initial will consultation, Best Will Week aims to encourage Irish people to also leave a gift to charity in their will, perhaps to one of My Legacy’s 78 Irish charity members. Ireland ranked as the 4th most generous country in the world in the 2014 World Giving Index[3]. However, the research revealed today that only 12% of Irish people plan to leave money to a charity1. Interestingly, 18 – 24 year olds have the highest intentions of leaving money to charity(1).

Preparation for death is more prevalent with males than females and is of more concern to parents(1). The most surprising revelation from the research may be that only a quarter have discussed their wishes with their family with a large majority leaving their legacy completely uncertain(1). Will preparation is most popular with the over 55’s demographic with 57% having already drafted their will(1). The younger demographic are not yet engaging the process with two thirds of those aged 25 – 34 not yet doing anything to prepare for their death, including drafting a will(1). Only a fifth of 35 – 44 year olds have prepared their wills which is surprising when this is considered the time in people’s lives when they buy a property or have children(1).

Susan O’Dwyer, Chairperson of MyLegacy.ie and CEO of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, commented on the launch of Best Will Week;

“The number of Irish people who bequeath a gift to charity or indeed don’t prepare a will is quite low. Leaving a gift to charity is a very meaningful experience that allows you to support a charity or cause you care about after you are gone. My Legacy would encourage everyone to take advantage of Best Will Week by making an appointment to visit your local solicitor for a will consultation to discuss your wishes and your lasting legacy”.

References

  1. Amarach September Omnibus 2015 conducted on behalf of Edelman. Based on 1000 adults aged 18 and over. Reference Code – S15 – 227
  2. Based on 110 responses from post 2014 campaign surveys completed by 110 participating solicitors nationwide
  3. https://www.cafonline.org/about-us/publications/2014-publications/world-giving-index-2014