Making a Will in  Northern Ireland 

Notary Public in his office signing a contract

DNDLAW Guide to making a will
Here are 10 things to do if you want to protect your loved ones from an almighty mess when you die.
1 Talk to your family 

This may be obvious but it is a good starting point. You need to discuss everything, from your funeral arrangements to who should inherit your favourite necklace.
2 Advance statement of wishes 

The charity Age UK suggests that anyone who finds they start to need help with personal care, such as getting dressed, might want to write an “advance statement of wishes”. These are not legally binding but they set down your preferences, wishes, beliefs and values regarding your future care.
Age UK said: “Advance statements can explain your likes and dislikes and include anything that is important for you to be comfortable. It will be used if you ever lose the ability to make or communicate your own decisions.”
For example, you can stipulate in the document the kinds of food, music and television programmes you like and whether you prefer baths or showers.

It is a good idea to give a copy of your advance statement to all those involved in your care.
3 Make a will 

Having a will is important for everyone: it means there are clear instructions about what you want to happen to your money, property, possessions and online accounts .
If you have already made a will, take time to review it to ensure it still reflects your wishes. If you die without a will, it can take much longer to deal with your estate and the people who inherit your money may not necessarily be the people you would have chosen.
You can make a will on your own, but it is generally best to use a solicitor except in very straightforward cases, according to Age UK. 
4 Enduring power of attorney 

A Enduring power of attorney (EPA) is a way of giving someone you trust the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf.
This is important if at some point in the future you lose the ability to make or communicate your own decisions, or no longer wish to make decisions for yourself.

The person or people you nominate — your attorney(s) — can make decisions about your care, your daily routine, your medication and medical treatments and your living arrangements.
An LPA is valid only if you have the mental capacity to set it up and you have not been put under any pressure to create it. It must be your decision and you must be able to trust your attorney, because you are giving them extensive powers to make decisions about your life.
5 Give advance refusal of dreaded treatment 

If you feel strongly that there are some medical treatments you would not want to receive — you might not want to be resuscitated, for instance — you can formalise your wishes in an “advance decision” document.

It is not legally binding in Norther Irrkand as yet but is still useful if you lose the capacity to make or communicate decisions about your treatment, such as if you have advanced dementia or are unconscious.
6 Plan your funeral 

Some of the things you might like to consider are where you would like your funeral; whether you want a burial or cremation and a religious or secular service ; who you would like invited; what songs or readings you would like; whether you want flowers; and what clothes you would want to be dressed in.

7 Practical considerations 

It can be helpful to gather together key documents such as your passport, driving licence, bank account details, pension plans, insurance policies and will. Keeping these in a safe place and telling your carer, a family member or the executor of your will where they are will make things easier for them later on.

If you rely on the internet to pay bills, shop online or keep in touch with friends, it is sensible to think about what will happen to your ­digital legacy after you die.

For example, you may want some social media accounts to be deactivated, or you may want close friends or family to be able to recover sentimental items you have stored online, such as photographs.
8 Care for your pets 

If you have pets, you need to think about what will happen when you are no longer able to care for them, or after you die. You may know someone who is happy to help but may not be able to keep them permanently.
9 Estate planning 

If you have time, it is a good idea to start giving away your assets to reduce any potential inheritance tax liabilities.
An individual’s bequest when they die is liable for inheritance tax of up to 40% on anything above £325,000. If you are married or in a civil partnership, any unused part of the deceased’s £325,000 allowance passes to the surviving spouse.

You can gift as much as you like, in what is known as a “potentially exempt transfer”. If you then survive for a further seven years, it is completely outside your estate for inheritance tax purposes.
10 Consider saving a life 

Registering as an organ donor can be a huge help to someone in need after your death. It can also provide enormous comfort to your relatives that your death has helped others. However, it is a personal decision and a very sensitive one, so it is worth thinking about early.

If you decide to sign up, it is quick and easy to register on the NHS organ donation website (
DNDLAW Solicitors 
Donnelly Neary & Donnelly offer a full range of legal services including Conveyancing Tax Commercial Criminal Family Law Divorce Wills Probate Immigration Notary Public from offices in Newry Castlewellan Dublin Portadown serving all of County Down Armagh and Belfast
For more information visit our offices or telephone 028 30264611
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21 Deans Court Christchurch Dublin 8

31 Main Street Castlewellan County Down

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