Spouses and Civil Partners (same sex unions) – Rights in Irish Law

What right has a spouse or civil partner in Irish law following the death of the other person?

The Succession Act 1965 (operative from 1st January 1967) provides that if a person dies having made a will and leaving a spouse but no children the surviving spouse# shall have a legal right to one half of the deceased’s estate i.e. half what such a spouse would be entitled to in an intestacy situation.

If a person dies having made a will and leaving a spouse and children the surviving spouse shall have a legal right to one third of the deceased’s estate, again half what such a spouse would be entitled to on intestacy.

It is possible for a spouse or civil partner to formally renounce the legal right share.

There are circumstances in which a spouse is not entitled to the legal right share and the court may (for example in the case of divorce) make an order extinguishing these rights.

Same Sex unions:

# The Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010 came into effect on the 1st January 2011. As well as conferring tax benefits on civil partners (same sex couples) the new act also confers property rights on certain qualifying cohabitants.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, same sex civil partners are treated in the same way as spouses under the tax and social welfare codes

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

Please feel free to contact me in the most convenient way using either the contact box on the right or by email at  pbrennan@probate-ireland.com

Paul D. Brennan  BA (Hons) Business Law MBA
46 De Courcey Square, Dublin 9 Ireland

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