Lawlink – Do I have any entitlement to late dad’s estate if he remarried and had more children?

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Q. My dad passed away in 2022. My brother and I attended his funeral, which was incredibly emotional. I attended with my wife and daughter. My parents were divorced 40 years ago. My dad has since remarried and has children with his now widow. They lived in England. I am wondering if either myself or my daughter have any entitlement to inheritance from his estate as we have not heard anything at all from his family regarding his will? Any information would be appreciated.

Dear Reader,

The first thing to bear in mind is that quite a lot would depend on where your dad had been domiciled, whether he had any will made, and whether he had any assets held in Ireland or the UK.

You mentioned that your dad passed away in England, and presumably the bulk of his assets were there. His estate would therefore be governed by English probate law, and you would need to consult with an English qualified solicitor in order to take full advice.

Although English law is very different from Irish law in a great many respects, we can tell you that quite an amount would depend on whether or not your dad had a will made.

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If your dad held any assets in Ireland, again a great degree would depend on whether or not your he had a will made, be it in the UK or in Ireland. If he did not have a will, then his Irish assets would be distributed two thirds to his spouse, and one third equally between his children (that is to say, each of you and your brother, and your father’s children from his subsequent marriage, would receive the same share).

If he did have a will made that would cover his Irish assets, his assets would be distributed according to that will, save that his wife would be entitled to one third of his Irish estate. There is no entitlement for children to automatically inherit under the will. There is also no entitlement for you to receive a copy of that will.

If your father failed to provide for you during his lifetime, then perhaps it might be open to you to seek redress through the courts. However, the failure to provide would generally have to be quite stark. It would not, for example, be sufficient for you to show that your father favoured other children or provided them with inheritances etc.

You should discuss all possible avenues with your solicitor at the earliest possible juncture. Your solicitor might be able to carry out property checks to see if he held any homes or other property in Ireland. If you feel that the bulk of his assets were held in England, again you would need to consult with an England-based solicitor.