Estate Planning Case Studies

Blanchardstown, Castleknock, Dublin City Centre

There have been two landmark High Court judgments outlined below in our Estate Planning Case Studies which have had implications for how wills can be contested in Ireland.

Whilst one of the major tasks an executor of a will has to undertake after someone’s death is regularising the tax position of the deceased, probate can get complicated. Most executors will engage the services of a solicitor to assist them with the tax implications and with the other tasks that arise in administering an estate. In cases where people* want to challenge the fairness or legitimacy of the will, choosing a separate law firm who are experienced in probate matters is very important.

*Most in this category fall into the relationship of spouse, cohabitee or life partner, or child of the deceased.

There are remedies available at law, such as:

  • A spouse is entitled under the Succession Act 1965 to a Legal Right Share in the Estate of the Deceased or to opt for the gift under the will.
  • While a cohabitee (a partner with the qualifying time period per the legislation met) as a right of recourse to the courts for relief rather than a specific share.
  • A child can have recourse to the estate by virtue of a Section 117 action.

Estate Planning Case Study 1: ‘GM’* – High Court [1970]

In this landmark Section 117 case, the only child of the deceased was 32 when the case was heard. He was a merchant seaman. His late father had been a doctor and had paid for all the plaintiff’s education. The father under his will left his estate to his widow, and left nothing in his will to his son. His son brought a claim under Section 117.

*Note that names in such cases are anonymised because these cases are heard not in heard in open Court but in private, also known as in camera.

The High Court decided that the following five considerations needed to be taken into account in s.117 cases:

  • any amount left in the will to the widow (the bereaved spouse) (or else the value of the minimum statutory legal right share of the surviving spouse under the 1965 Act);
  • the number of children, their ages and their position in life when the parent who made the will dies;
  • the parent’s financial means;
  • the age, financial position and prospects in life of the person making the claim under Section 117;
  • whether the parent has already made proper provision for the child; and
  • the facts at the date of death, not when the will was made.

In the GM case the Court held proper provision had not been made by the father for his son, the plaintiff. The Court awarded him half of the father’s estate, after taking account of his mother’s mandatory legal right share under the Succession Act 1965. You should note that in relation to Section 117 the law specifies that an application must be brought within six months of taking out full probate or administration of the estate: this is usually between nine to fifteen months after death.

Estate Planning Case Study 2: ‘SF’ – High Court [2015]

The case of SF involved a situation directly related to recession that emerged after 2008 and the economic crash. The deceased’s Estate was worth over €14 million, and the parent’s will had divided it equally between six children. One of the children, who brought the case under Section 117, had worked in the family business instead of pursuing his own independent career. When his father was alive, he had sold to the plaintiff some development land for €1.2 million: this was financed by a bank loan taken out by the son, which had been guaranteed by the father. Because of the economic crash, the development land was worth just €160,000 in 2015, but the son still owed €1.6 million on the bank loan. This meant that the plaintiff was in a much worse financial position than his father’s other children because much of his share of the estate would be needed to pay off the bank loan. In this case the High Court decided that the father had failed to make proper provision for his son because;

  • he had not referred in his will to the loan guarantee he had given the plaintiff, and
  • the guarantee was now worthless the plaintiff was in a considerably worse position than his siblings because much of his share of the estate would be required to pay off the balance remaining on the bank loan.

The Court therefore decided that the plaintiff’s bank loan of €1.6 million should be paid out of the €14 million estate, that he should be given an additional sum of €500,000 and that he and the other five children should then share equally the remainder in the estate.

The above case studys have been excerpted from the Law Reform Commission 2017 report.

Time Limits & Avenues of Appeal

Strict time limits apply also to the other remedies and as such if you believe you or a dependent (such as a non-marital child who is still under 18 and a minor) require assistance you should seek legal advice quickly after learning of the death. In 2017 the Law Reform Commission reviewed this area of law and published a Report on Succession Law under which a child (including an adult child) can claim against a Will. The Report makes several recommendations including that section 117 relief should be extended to the law of intestacy. Currently the position under intestacy (where there is no Will) does not have the benefit of s.117 relief and the legal position varies considerably. Other avenues of recourse include promissory estoppel (i.e. the law of fairness or equity will not allow a wrong to be done if you acted in reliance of a promise made to you), as well as various other Will challenges either by way of undue influence or in terms of the technical composition of a Will.

Getting Legal Advice

At Carmody Moran Solicitors we appreciate that this can be a difficult approach to make when you are already dealing with so many other feelings and stresses. However prompt, accurate, and timely advice is very important. The approach by an expert solicitor can be made in a conciliatory manner and alternative dispute resolutions explored so as to avoid the upset and additional stress that can go with the issue of court proceedings. We have acted for clients in a variety of situations including;

  • parents on behalf of an infant child who were disinherited by another parent (who was in a marital relationship with another and had other adult children)
  • children of blended families
  • adult children
  • estranged children from the deceased
  • partners who were not married

We understand it can be difficult to explore such issues with the speed the law demands. It is important however that your interests are protected if you have a valid claim against an estate and that you take prompt action to protect your position or that of another (such as an infant child or other dependant child) if required. Our experts are skilled in not only the legal knowledge to successfully bring and/or defend such actions but to furnish you with initial advice regarding the right course of action. At an early stage you can make informed decisions and take the right steps so as to protect your position and to receive that advice from an expert in a sensitive and direct manner. Probate law is complex and more than one avenue of resource may need investigation. Carmody Moran Solicitors are in a position to guide and offer you expert experienced advice which is essential so as not to fall foul of the intricacies of this complex area of law.

Your Wills and Probate Legal Team in Dublin City Centre

At Carmody Moran Solicitors our experienced wills and probate solicitors in Dublin are on hand to advise and are skilled in handling all nature of making a will in Ireland.

The two partners of Carmody Moran solicitors have a combined total of in excess of twenty-five years of professional legal experience. Together with their associates, they aim to make the Court process as straightforward and navigable as possible while being on hand to alleviate their clients’ concerns and worries about going through the Court process.

Anthony-Carmody-Solicitor-Dublin

Anthony Carmody

Partner

Anthony Carmody is one of the founding Partners of Carmody Moran Solicitors.

He has significant experience in personal injury cases and general litigation having handled literally thousands of cases on behalf of clients based in Ireland and abroad.

Niamh-Moran-Family-Law-Solicitor-Dublin

Niamh Moran

Partner

Niamh Moran is one of the founding partners of Carmody Moran Solicitors and is a solicitor with wide ranging experience across all areas of general practice.

Niamh manages the family lawconveyancing in Dublin, and probate divisions of the practice. Niamh’s practice of law is extremely varied and she is regularly sought out for her expertise by clients and colleagues alike.

*While we have made every effort to provide accurate information, the law is always changing and it affects each person differently. This information is not a substitute for specific advice about you personally and it is not intended as legal advice. We will not be liable to you if you rely on this information. In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement. This statement is made in compliance with Reg.8 of SI 518 of 2002.

You should note that no solicitor/client relationship or duty of care or liability of any nature shall exist or be deemed to exist between Carmody Moran Solicitors and you until you have received a written letter of engagement from us in which we confirm our appointment as your Solicitors.

INDEPENDENT GOOGLE CLIENT REVIEWS

Joe Marsh
Joe Marsh
17:59 26 Sep 22
We recently closed on a first time house purchase and we were very pleased with how the whole process was handled at Carmody Moran. They always responded clearly and promptly to the many queries I had along the way and were on the ball with following up issues with the sellers solicitors to keep the process moving.The reason I went with them originally over other options was because they gave a very clear breakdown for the charges and the quoted price we were given was transparent and easy to understand compared to other quotes I received.I will definitely use them again if the need arises and recommend them to my friends and family.
Kenneth Ohaa
Kenneth Ohaa
09:52 01 Sep 22
I got the keys to my new house a few weeks back. I cannot recommend Carmody Moran Solicitors highly enough. It was a bit lengthy as I was buying and selling at the same time. In such cases you need experienced and competent solicitors such as Carmody Moran Solicitors.Stephanie and Helen were a pleasure to work with. Very transparent and communicative. Also occasionally dealt with Lucy and Caila. They were brilliant as well.I would like to say Thank you to the entire Carmody Moran team.Kenneth
Salt Almighty
Salt Almighty
06:16 10 Aug 22
I needed a solicitor to arrange a mortgage, and they went above and beyond to help me !I would advise them to anyone
Andrew NEROH
Andrew NEROH
19:39 04 Jul 22
My partner and I recently made the acquisition of our first home and it was a lengthy and difficult process, due to the fact we were buying from a receiver.In such difficult cases, you will need a legal representation as competent and professional as Carmody Moran Solicitors on your side.We were primarily dealing with Stephanie who gave us regular updates, helped us understand what is happening and what to do. We felt our interest always came first which made every appointment with her something we looked forward to.We were also occasionally in contact with Lucy, Niamh and other brilliant members of the firm, all of whom provided an excellent level of support and knowledge in Stephanie's absence.I couldn't recommend Carmody Moran enough. I would like to give a heartfelt thank-you on behalf of myself and my partner to every one involved at the firm who helped us make our dream a reality. We will not hesitate to call upon your services again should the occasion arise.Andrew.
jonathan
jonathan
16:14 28 Jun 22
I would highly recommend Carmody Moran Solicitors. Niamh Moran and her team helped and supported me through the sale of my home. The transaction was dealt with efficiently and quickly. Every step was clearly explained from the Sale Questionnaire, Contract for Sale to Completion.
Herghelegiu Oana
Herghelegiu Oana
22:44 20 Jun 22
We just got the keys to our dream home 🏡 special thanks to Stephanie,Helen,Caila and Carmody Moran team.All the girls are very friendly and helpful.Stephanie was a pleasure to have you as our solicitor.Highly recommend!
Karolina Siwakowska
Karolina Siwakowska
20:00 28 Mar 22
We've just got the keys to our dream home and Carmody Moran has helped us with all the legal work. We've been dealing with Stephanie and Helen and they both have been great: friendly, professional and communicative. The whole process can be intimidating at times, but they've made sure to make it as easy as possible for us. They've represented us well. Highly recommended.
ciara daly
ciara daly
16:27 18 Feb 22
Anthony and his team went above and beyond for me, everything was always looked after and I was constantly kept in the loop for my RTA case. From phone calls to emails to dealing with insurers. Gave me great peace of mind that I chose the right solicitor and Anthony himself is a gentleman. I would highly recommend Carmody Moran Solicitors.
Cassandra Reyes
Cassandra Reyes
11:11 14 Jan 22
Tony is quick and responsive to me. Very professional and would definitely recommend to my family and friends.Thank you so much.
Martin Kinsella
Martin Kinsella
17:23 15 Dec 21
CarmodyMoran were a pleasure to deal with. I found them to be extremely helpful in all my queries and responded to me in a very personal and professional manner.
Marie Byrne
Marie Byrne
14:06 30 Nov 21
Anthony & Niamh are our family Solicitor, so had no hesitation when the decision was made to sell of our family home. They dealt with my dad in the most caring manner explaining everything in detail. I dealt with Helen Ryan and Stephanie Tierney. The response to every query was exceptional. An absolute pleasure to deal with. If they were unavailable Emma at reception would pass all messages on. It was a very positive experience and a fantastic team at Carmody/Moran Solicitors. Thank you. Marie Byrne
Jennifer Foley
Jennifer Foley
18:13 27 Nov 21
Excellent.I am a client of Carmody Moran for the last few years.Niamh is a lovely person she made a difficult and lengthy process easy and answered any questions in a timely manner, very approachable and thorough.With her guidance and experience I found her to be very professional and understanding of my position, every step of the process was explained to me without overwhelming me.I cannot speak highly enough of Niamh and her team.I am happy to recommend them to anyone.
Richard Lawrence
Richard Lawrence
13:04 02 Sep 21
Would highly recommend.Tony and his team were absolutely brillant dealing with my case.Tony made me feel comfortable from day one, he explained everything to me at all times . Any time I had questions about thing's there was no problem in picking up the phone or sending a email Tony always got back to me and answered my questions.Fantastic service.
Fran Carroll
Fran Carroll
18:10 10 Jun 21
Tony an his team are brilliant.Left no stone unturned.
We availed of Carmody Moran Solicitors for the sale of our property. Niamh and her team were very efficient, quick, easy to reach and, most importantly, proactive to solve issues and process the sale. Really happy with the service and a very good value for money. Highly recommend!
Annamay Rowan
Annamay Rowan
12:21 10 Mar 21
Would highly recommend Anthony Carmody as he was so supportive with me and my family's case. If you made contact he would ring or email you back that day and explain things in your language.
Anant Batra
Anant Batra
00:05 05 Feb 21
Fantastic experience dealing with Anthony. Excellent and quick communication. Would highly recommend!
Elvyra Petkeviciute
Elvyra Petkeviciute
15:43 02 Sep 20
Great service, efficient, proffesional, very responsive. Over all very happy with services.
Tracy Ankers
Tracy Ankers
11:22 02 Aug 20
Would highly recommend Anthony and his team .
Elaine McSweeney
Elaine McSweeney
10:01 31 Jul 20
Really pleased with the advice, help, communication and understanding that I received all the way through my case. A very personable and professional firm with the focus always on the client.
Maxine Hudson
Maxine Hudson
13:47 12 May 20
Would highly recommend. No nonsense straight to the point. Kept informed at all times during the process. Anthony and staff all great.
Mark Kelly
Mark Kelly
02:11 06 Feb 20
Great team to deal with, very professional, communication from them constantly was beyond amazing, nothing but great things to say for them, Tony went above and beyond for me, highly recommended A++ for there service, thank you again guys much appreciated.
Mick Giles
Mick Giles
15:50 09 Dec 19
My experience with this law firm was exceptional. Tony is a very professional man who gave me his time and opinion without over promising on the result. Honest and trustworthy - Highly recommend
david clarke
david clarke
17:01 02 Dec 19
Absolute pleasure working with the CM team. Highly professional, always helpful. Great communication and made the process as hassle free as possible. Highly recommended.
Matthew Canning
Matthew Canning
17:17 23 May 19
Streetfront Lawyers.
Alan Alyyan
Alan Alyyan
19:14 21 Jan 19
Professional Solicitors that you can depend on!
Vanja Jovanovic
Vanja Jovanovic
07:49 06 Jul 18
We have dealt with both, Niamh and Anthony. Very pleased with the level of service. Very professional and always there to answer any questions we had while guiding us through the process. Highly recommended
Bonnie B
Bonnie B
07:52 14 Jun 18
Great to deal with professional,patient and efficient. Big thanks to Niamh, Leanne and Camilla .
declan mcgrath
declan mcgrath
07:36 12 Jun 18
Great service from Niamh, Leanne and all the team at Carmody Moran. Thanks
Phyllis Dalton
Phyllis Dalton
16:33 31 May 18
Our experience with Carmody Moran was very positive. They were very professional and always there on the phone if I ever needed anything. Great service.
Andrew Penrose
Andrew Penrose
23:57 24 May 18
We selected Carmody Moran to represent us. Great experience with Niamh and the crew after over a year engagement on property dealings have nothing but great things to say. Very professional, prompt to queries and very responsive. Highly recommended.
Paul Moran
Paul Moran
17:52 25 Feb 18
Professional but very friendly and courteous.
jingjing xu
jingjing xu
16:11 15 Jun 15
I went to Carmody after deciding to get a house. I found their work is detailed and very reliable. I will go again to them for next time legal service.
David McGowan
David McGowan
16:43 14 May 15
I went to Carmody Moran Solicitors after a car accident and needed injury claim advice, I was incredibly impressed and was kept well informed of how my claim was progressing.They were very straight forward and never set unrealistic time frames or over promising but delivered on everything, They were consummate professionals and I really can't thank them enough, I would highly recommend them to anyone and I will use them for any legal advice I may have in the future.
Terry Palmer
Terry Palmer
15:24 23 Apr 15
I have always found the service offered by Carmody Moran to be first rate and i would would have no hesitation in recommending them.
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