Registration of Wills Bill
Ireland, by its continued absence of a National Register of Wills, has failed to conform to European best practice. However, the progression of The Registration of Wills Bill 2016 through the Seanad in March 2019 could mark the first step in Ireland’s attempt to fall in line with international recommendations.
The Bill seeks to establish a Registrar of Wills and to implement a system whereby a person making a will, or their solicitor, can register certain details of the Will (e.g. the date of the Will, the custodian of the Will) with a central authority; thus making it easier to locate a will and reduce the risk of the will remaining unknown or being found belatedly. The finer details of the Will would remain private until after the death of the person who made it.
However, the Bill remains flawed, in that the proposed registration would be voluntary. Therefore, the Registrar of Wills will not be conclusive evidence as to the existence of a will or, indeed, its validity.