LEGAL MATTERS

Byrne Carolan Cunningham SOLICITORS

My husband passed away recently. I understand that he made a will prior to his death and left his large farm to his nephew. I am very disappointed as I just received a small bequest from him. Is there anything I can do?

The law governing wills, namely the Succession Act, 1965, provides unique protection for spouses. A spouse is entitled to one-half of the estate of the deceased spouse if he/she died having made a valid will and had no children. A spouse is entitled to one-third of the estate of the deceased spouse if he/she died having made a valid will and had children. You do not have to go to court to get your entitlement as the executor is obliged to grant this share to you where applicable. You should contact a solicitor immediately to obtain legal advice as strict time limits apply in respect of claiming your inheritance share.

Another avenue which may be explored would be the issue of mental capacity of the deceased person who made the will (the testator ). In order to make a valid will the testator must, in the eyes of the law, possess the mental capacity to do so. This means that the individual making the will must not be suffering from any mental condition which would compromise their ability to give full and rational instructions in relation to their will. The mental capacity of the testator is relevant at the time of making the will and not at the time of death. Being elderly in itself does not suggest that a person lacks mental capacity to make a will. If there is an issue as regards mental capacity then the whole will could be challenged.

This column is prepared by Dolores Gacquin, solicitor. Byrne Carolan Cunningham have offices in Athlone, Moate, and Lanesborough.

A person should always contact their solicitor to obtain legal advice specific to their own situation. The above column contains general information and cannot be relied upon as legal advice.

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