Who Inherits when there is no Will?

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for people to die without making a Will.  A Will makes it much easier for your family to sort out your affairs when you die. Without a Will it can make the process of having your affairs dealt with, on your death more time consuming and stressful.

If you die without making a will, you are said to die intestate. If that happens, your money and property is distributed in accordance with the rules set out in the Succession Act, 1965 – which might benefit persons you don’t want to leave anything to! The Irish rules on intestacy will dictate how your estate – your assets, money and possessions – will be divided out.

The rules for division of property on intestacy are as follows:

If the deceased person is survived by a

  • Spouse or civil partner but no children – spouse/civil partner gets entire estate
  • Spouse or civil partner and children – spouse/civil partner gets two-thirds, one-third is divided equally between children (if a child has already died their children take a share)
  • Parents, no spouse/civil partner or children – divided equally between parents (or entirely to one parent if only one survives)
  • Child or children, no spouse or civil partner – divided equally between children (as above)
  • Brothers and sisters only – shared equally (the children of a deceased brother or sister take the share of their parent)
  • Nieces and nephews only – divided equally between those surviving
  • Other relatives – divided equally between nearest equal relationship
  • No relatives – given to the State

It is important to make a Will because a person chooses who to leave his/her property/assets to.  It also allows a person to get advice and consider the tax implications of their proposed Will.  The current rate (2019) of inheritance tax or CAT in Ireland is 33% (it has been this since Dec 2012)

The current tax thresholds (the amount you can inherit before you have to pay tax) include the following:

  • Child/foster child/minor child of a deceased child: €320,000.00
  • Brother/Sister/nephew/niece/ other lineal ancestors: €32,500.00
  • Any other relatives: €16,250.00

The importance of making your Will is that you get to decide the destiny of your property and you also get the opportunity to think about issues which you may have not thought were relevant.