Making a Will & Probate

If you are considering making a will, contact:

John A Sinnott & Co Solicitors - Jason Dunne

Jason Dunne



At John A. Sinnott & Co. Solicitors we are one of Wexford's leading law practitioners in probate law. Our Wexford based solicitors John G. Murphy and Jason Dunne are authors of:

  • Inheritance and Succession: The Complete Irish Guide (published 2008)
  • Make your Will (published 2009)
    Both books are available from bookshops and to buy on-line.

If you are considering making a will, begin your planning today. Contact us to guide you through the process.


A will is a legal document that states in clear terms how you would like your assets or property to be distributed after your death. It is a statement of future intention which only becomes effective on death. Making a will is quite a simple and inexpensive process but extremely important nonetheless.

Why Make a Will?

Putting a will in place is, without doubt, one of the most important provisions you can make for your family or partner for the future. People are slow to make proper provision because of the reluctance to deal with matters concerning death and succession. The advantages, however, of having a will are numerous and some of these are:

  • It provides peace of mind for you ensuring the transfer of property to your intended beneficiaries.
  • It ensures that those you want provided for after your death will be provided for.
  • It is inexpensive to put in place
  • It can be amended at any stage, as it does not take effect until date of death.
  • If the beneficiaries are under the age of 18 years, it will provide for the appointment of two trustees to hold the assets in trust for the benefit of the minor children.
  • It can be an effective tool for the minimisation of capital taxes i.e. gift tax or inheritance tax. Though each case has to be examined in its own context to decide on what measures could be put in place to reduce the beneficiary's tax liabilities.

What Happens if There is No Will in Place?

If you don’t make a will, your estate will be distributed as follows:

Survived By:

  • Spouse and Children: Two thirds to spouse and one third equally between children.
  • Spouse and No Children: Spouse takes all.
  • Children and No Spouse: Children take equally with children of a pre-deceased child taking per stirpes.
  • Grandchildren, No Spouse or Children: Grandchildren take equally.
  • Father, Mother, Brothers and Sisters: Each parent takes one half.
  • One Parent, Brothers and Sisters: Parent takes all.
  • Brothers and Sisters: All take equally.
  • Children of a pre-deceased sibling take per stirpes.

When someone dies without leaving a will or any living relatives, their estate will pass to the state.

Per stirpes is a Latin term so to explain it in plain English, using an example: George had three children, Bill, Bob & Barbara. Bill died in 2002 leaving two children of his own. George died intestate, a widower, in 2008. Who will take George's estate? Bob and Barbara will take one third each and the remaining one third will be divided equally between Bill's children. That's per stirpes!