There are important protections in Irish law for partners succession rights If they have been left out , or not properly provided for in the will of their deceased spouse.. there are safeguards.
Under the Succession Act 1965, a spouse or partner has certain succession rights. They are entitled to half of the estate if there are no children. Alternatively, they will be entitled to one third if there are children. This right cannot be ignores by a Will unless you agree to waive your rights. This one-half or one-third share of the deceased’s estate is known as the Spouse’s Legal Right Share.
When is a spouse not a spouse
There are ways for a spouse to lose their succession rights or protection of the Succession Act and their legal right share.
Firstly, a spouse can renounce their entitlement to the legal right share.
Secondly, a spouse can be deemed to be “unworthy to succession”. This is done under Section 120 of the Succession Act 1965, if for example, they murder their spouse.
Thirdly, a Court can remove the entitlement to the legal right share as part of a Judicial Separation Order.
Finally, Divorce itself removes the person’s right to the legal right share of their former spouse.
These final two methods are examined a little closer below.
The easiest way to deal with Succession rights when a marriage breaks down is to agree it between the parties. This is done by the parties renouncing their rights if that is suitable.
However, if no agreement can be reached, an application can be made to the Court for Judicial Separation. This is made under the Judicial Separation and Family Law Reform Act 1989. Under this act, the Court may remove the spouse’s normal entitlement under the Succession Act. This will only be permitted provided proper provision has been made for the spouse losing their succession entitlements.
In divorce cases, after the Decree of Divorce is granted, the spouse loses their Succession Act entitlements automatically.
It is important to remember that a subsequent marriage revokes a will. If one of the parties remarries, any will they previously made would not be valid in any case.
Forgetting to change your will after marriage or divorce
You should update your Will after marriage or separation . If you do not you could have problems.
For example, you may have a standard will for a husband and wife which gifts the entirety of your estate to your spouse.
If you subsequently go through a divorce or separation your spouse or partner may may still be entitled to what is gifted to them under the will until you make a new one.
The legal right share blocked by the Court is only relevant where they are left less than what they would be entitled to under the legal right share.
For further advice or if you wish to discuss any other legal area please contact [email protected] or telephone 052-6124344.
The material contained in this blog is provided for general information purposes only and does not amount to legal or other professional advice. While every care has been taken in the preparation of the information, we advise you to seek specific advice from us about any legal decision or course of action.