Succession Rights Of Children – Section 117 – Succession Act 1965

What are the inheritance rights of children in Irish law?

Has a child a right to a specific share of a parent’s estate?

Unlike the provisions which it makes for a spouse, the Succession Act 1965 does not provide a specific share as a child’s legal right share in a situation where a parent makes a will.

The act does however provide for the possibility of a child seeking redress in the case of a testator who makes a will without making adequate provision for the child.

Section 117(1) of the Succession Act 1965:
“Where, on application by or on behalf of a child of a testator, the court is of opinion that the testator has failed in his moral duty to make proper provision for the child in accordance with his means, whether by will or otherwise, the court may order that such provision be made for the child out of the estate as the court thinks just”

it should be noted that “child” includes an adult child. It also includes a child born outside marriage and a child adopted by a testator.


There is a short and important time limit to note in relation to any such application which is not apparent on looking only at the Succession Act 1965 itself:

The original period for the issue of proceeding (12 months from the first taking out of representation of the deceased’s estate) has, by virtue of the Family Law (Divorce) Act 1996, been reduced to six months (from the first taking out of a grant).

If you feel you may have a claim under Section 117 of the Succession Act 1965 (as amended) it is critically important that you seek prompt legal advice so that full instructions can be taken to enable any appropriate proceedings to be issued within the short statutory time limit that now applies to these cases – if proceedings are not issued in time the claim will be statute barred.

Always seek prompt legal advice based on the unique facts of your own case.