Today we discuss Spouse Inheritance Rights.
My husband passed away recently. I understand that he made a will prior to his death and he left his large farm to his nephew. The farm was in his name only. Our home was also in his name and he left me with just a life interest in my home and after my death it will also pass to his nephew. I am very disappointed and I feel ill-treated. Is there anything I can do?
The law governing wills, namely the Succession Act, 1965, provides unique protection for spouses of the deceased in Ireland.
You refer to a will and I am assuming that your late husband’s will is valid. You are entitled to one-half of your late husband’s estate if he died having made a valid will and he had no children. You are entitled to one-third of your late husband’s estate if he died having made a valid will and he had children.
This entitlement is called a legal right share. The legal right share ranks in priority after the rights of creditors of the deceased and ahead of any other beneficiary.
You do not have to go to court to get your entitlement as the executor of his estate is obliged to grant this share to you where applicable. You should contact your Solicitor immediately to obtain legal advice as strict time limits apply in respect of claiming your inheritance share.
I should also mention that a surviving spouse may cease to be entitled to a legal right share in a number circumstances to include legal separation or divorce. It would be usual for a spouse to renounce their legal right share as part of the terms of a divorce or legal separation agreement following the dissolution of a marriage.
Contact Byrne Carolan Cunningham dedicated Wills & Inheritance Law Department in confidence for advice specific to your situation.