Intestacy? Whats that?


Intestacy is the legal description of the situation arising when you don’t leave a valid will. Intestacy can be total, as in no will, or partial, where there is a will but it doesn’t doesn’t cover all property or circumstances.

The Succession Act 1965 governs the actual distribution of estates intestate between those entitled to succeed. There are two starting points in determining who is entitled to inherit and in what shares. The first is establishing the marital status of the deceased as at date of death; the second is establishing the next of kin.

It also determines whom is entitled to act in applying for a Grant of Administration Intestate, as in whom will have access to all your papers, property and affairs.

Next of kin do not hold equal rights to succeed or necessarily equal shares on Intestacy, they are ranked in terms of degrees of kinship, in descending order as follows: Spouse/civil partner; Children or children of a child who predeceased the deceased; Father/mother or in non marital cases, the mother; siblings; nephews/nieces; Grandparents; Uncles/Aunts; Greatgrandparents; other next of kin of nearest degree; nominee of state.

Various  situations arise on Intestacy, such as where  only a spouse/civil partner survives  with no children of the marriage or partnership; a spouse/civil partner survives along  with children; where there are only children surviving; where children and children of a predeceased child survive; where only Parent(s) survive; or where only siblings survive. What of children of the deceased, other than of the marriage or partnership?

Every possible circumstance is provided for under The Succession Act 1965, although its terms may require careful consideration, assisted by the findings in previous Court cases in determining what is to happen in each case.

Sound complicated? It should because it is. Make your life and the lives of your next of kin simpler. Make a Will.

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Declan O’Toole BCL TEP is a Trust and Estate Practitioner and advises on Lifetime Planning