Local Fianna Fáil councillor Aengus O’Rourke says a Bill soon to be introduced to the Seanad by his party will finally provide a statutory basis for the registration of wills.
Cllr O’Rourke first proposed the idea of a Register of Wills at a council meeting last year. The council agreed to write to Minister for Justice, Francis Fitzgerald, at the time but she rejected the idea, stating that there was no justification for such a register.
“Undeterred by the Minister’s rejections, I started to work on this behind the scenes with my party, and I am delighted now that Fianna Fáil is now bringing the Registration of Wills Bill 2016 to Second Stage in Seanad Éireann on Wednesday, December 14,” Cllr O’Rourke said.
The purpose of the Registration of Wills Bill 2016 is to provide a clear statutory basis for the registration of wills by extending the civil registration system. It enables a person making a will or their solicitor to register the details of the custodian of his/her will, reducing the risk of a will remaining unknown or being found belatedly.
“There is currently no central registration process for keeping track of the details of wills that have been made,” Cllr O’Rourke explained. “The current system involves solicitors holding wills in their own possession without any central authority knowing about the existence of the will. This can be problematic if the details of a will get lost if solicitor ceases to trade.
“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 being 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.”
Cllr O’Rourke says this is “a common sense proposal” which is relatively simple to implement, but will ultimately modernise the process of creating a will.
“I am hoping to see cross-party support for this legislation in Seanad Éireann. I would like to thank the Fianna Fáil party for their work on this issue, and in particular Senator Terry Leydon for taking the lead within the Senate,” concluded Cllr O’Rourke.