December 12, 2012
Inheritance Rights In Ireland
If a person dies intestate with a spouse and children, there are three different scenarios that might occur. First, the spouse will inherit the entire estate if the person does not have any children. However, if the person does have children, then the spouse will only inherit two-thirds of the estate. The children will divide the remaining one-third amongst themselves. Naturally, if there is no surviving spouse, the children are set to inherit the entire estate. If a person has a will, the will controls unless certain circumstances are met. A surviving spouse always has right in a share of the testator's estate. If the will chooses to disinherit the surviving spouse, then the spouse can take a legal right share in half of the estate if there are no children or one-third if there are children. All of this equally applies to civil partners.
If the spouses have a Deed of Separation, their entitlement to a share of the former spouse's estate is forfeited. The court that grants a couple a legal divorce grants an order that removes the rights of the former spouse. The rights of a former spouse are only revoked through these particular methods. The rights of spouses that are not legally separated are completely unaffected. It is also important to note that if a person gets married that revokes a prior will. This also applies to civil partners when they participate in a formal ceremony.
There are also inheritance rights for qualified cohabitants. Under Ireland law, a couple is considered a qualifying cohabitant if the couple has lived together "in an intimate and committed relationship for two years or more if they have children together and five years in all other cases." If a person is a qualifying cohabitant, they can apply with a court for a portion of the estate of their partner.
See John Lynch, Spouses, Civil Partners, Cohabitants and Children - Know Your Inheritance Rights, South Tipp Today, Dec. 11, 2012.
Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.
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