Irish law protects spouses and partners from being left out of wills or inadequately provided for by ensuring their succession rights. A partner or spouse is entitled to half of the estate of the deceased if there are not children involved, and one third if there are children to consider and provide for. This is called the Spouse’s Legal Right Share, and cannot be overridden by a will unless your rights are waived with your agreement.
For this reason, it is very important to ensure that you have an up to date will and that your wishes will be upheld in the event of your death. If your marriage or partnership has ended, you will need to ensure that your estate will be divided in the manner that you intend, as you may find that your ex-partner or spouse is still eligible to claim his or her share of it.
When can a Spouse’s Legal Right Share be challenged?
There are circumstances in which a spouse’s legal rights can be lost or challenged, including:
- A spouse may renounce his or her entitlement to the Spouse’s Legal Right Share. This can be agreed between both parties, and is a good solution where a separation is amicable.
- Judicial separation. If a marriage has broken down and the parties cannot agree to renounce entitlement, an application can be made to the Court for Judicial Separation under the Judicial Separation and Family Law Reform Act 1989. This applies where proper provision has been made for the spouse who will lose their succession entitlements, and the Court may remove the spouse’s entitlement under the Succession Act.
- Divorce. A divorce will mean that each spouse loses their Succession Act entitlement automatically, but this will not happen until the Decree of Divorce is granted. If you have separated and intend to divorce, it is important to seek legal advice and update your will to reflect this.
It is vital to ensure that you have an up to date will, especially if your circumstances change. If you get divorced or become separated, you should update your will to reflect your new situation. Failure to do so could result in an ex- partner or spouse inheriting all or part of your estate in the event of your death. If you marry or re-marry, any previous wills become invalid.
Talk To Family Law Solicitors in Cork
Do you have a current will? It is very important to ensure that your will is up to date, and an experienced solicitor can help you with this. We are experienced in wills and probate, and will make sure that your wishes will be respected in the event of your death.
Contact Irwin, Kilcullen & Co Solicitors for a free consultation without obligation and benefit from our expertise in family law. Simply contact us online or call us today on +021 4270934 to talk to our experienced and helpful team.