Wills are the way to go
“Not having a will can have serious consequences for your family after you are gone,” says Susan O’Dwyer, the chairwoman of MyLegacy.ieand chief executive of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. “In the absence of a will, there can be bitter legal disputes and the possibility of the State having to make decisions regarding the distribution of your property and assets, and we all want to avoid that.”
She accepts that “times are tough” and leaving money to charity may not be the first thing on anyone’s mind but expresses hope that “Irish people are generous and continue to give what they can to Irish charities”.
As it happens, we’re not really that generous when it comes to giving money to good causes once we’re gone.
According to MyLegacy.ieresearch, just over 30 per cent of those polled said they would like to make a donation to charity in their will.
The company puts a positive spin on this number and says it represents a 100 per cent increase on the figure in May 2006. That may well be true but it does mean the vast majority of the population would rather not leave any money to charity.
And it appears we get meaner as we get older.
The desire to leave a gift to charity is highest among 18-24-year-olds – who are, in fairness, the least likely to have to put their money where their mouths are.
When it comes to the 45-64 cohort, only 26 per cent say they consider leaving a gift to a charity.
Only one in three Irish adults has made a will, while only 12 per cent of Irish people have included a charity as a beneficiary in their will, despite the fact that 62 per cent say they would consider leaving a gift to charity.
As times get tougher, the squeeze is put on charitable donations which is why they need legacy donations now more than ever.
Irish charities only raise approximately 6 per cent of their income from legacies, which compares to up to 40 per cent in the UK.
A list of the participating solicitors can be found on MyLegacy.ie
In the absence of a will, there can be bitter legal disputes and the possibility of the State having to make decisions regarding the distribution of your property
DO-IT-YOURSELF WILLS: IF YOU'VE A SIMPLE LIFE
IT IS POSSIBLE for you to draw up your own will as long as you don’t have a particularly complicated life.
Templates for wills can be found online – lawyer.iehas a list of do’s and don’ts and a template – or they can be bought in large bookshops.
Staff at the Courts Service are enormously helpful and will provide all the necessary documentation and a degree of advice – although they do have to be careful as they are not technically allowed to give legal advice.
Bear in mind that if there is any complexity, such as a divorce or children from a different relationship, a person should not look after their own will.