Intestacy Services – Probate Ireland

Intestacy in Ireland – What happens when a person dies without having made a will?

Intestacy arises where a person dies without having made a will or without having fully disposed of all property by will (the latter situation is known as a partial intestacy)

If you are the next of kin of someone who dies intestate please contact me by email and I will let you know what you need to provide for me so that I can take out a grant of administration to enable you to sort out the affairs of your deceased next of kin.


What Happens In Irish law If a Person Dies Without Having Made a Will ?

For deaths after 1 January 1967 the entitlements are governed by the Succession Act 1965:
A statutory civil partnership registration scheme for same-sex couples was introduced in from 1 January 2011 under the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010. The Act sets out the rights and obligations that civil partners have towards each other. These are broadly the same as the rights and obligations of married couples towards each. The Act does not change the law on issues relating to children, for example, guardianship, adoption, custody, access or maintenance. On registration of a civil partnership, civil partners are treated in the same way as spouses under the tax and social welfare codes. Necessary changes to the social welfare codes were made through the Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2010. Taxation changes were made through the Finance (No. 3) Act 2011 (pdf). See Revenue’s Frequently Asked Questions on Civil Partnership (pdf). The Minister for Justice and Equality has made an order recognising from 25 December 2011 as civil partnerships classes of legal relationships which are registered in other countries and which meet certain criteria – see website of Department of Justice Equality and Defence.


Position and Outcome

  • Married (or civil partnership) – no children Spouse or civil partner takes all
  • You are married with children Spouse takes two thirds – children take one third between them
  • You are married with some children living and with some grandchildren – children of a deceased child Spouse takes two thirds – children take one third between them with grandchildren taking their deceased’s parents share
  • You are married with no children living but with some grandchildren – children of several deceased children Spouse takes two thirds – grandchildren take one third between them – all equal shares
  • You are single – no children – two parents survive Parents take all – equal share
  • You are single – no children – one parent survives Surviving parent takes all
  • You are single – no parents – no children – brothers and sisters survive Brothers and sisters take all between them in equal shares
  • You are single – no parents – no children – brothers and sisters survive – some brothers and sisters have died leaving children Brothers and sisters take equal shares between them with the nephews and nieces taking their deceased parents share
  • You are single – no parents – no children – no brothers and sisters survive – some brothers and sisters have died leaving children The nephews and nieces taking the entire between them in equal shares

The above is a brief summary of some of the effects of the Succession Act 1965 in the case where a person dies intestate i.e. without having made a will and where succession to property is governed by Irish law.

Always seek prompt legal advice based on the unique facts of your case Many situations give rise to statutory time limits. When these limits expire your rights WILL be lost.