Administration of Pre-1967 Cases

25 June 2021


In practice we are always looking at historic cases. For deaths prior to 1 January 1967 (the date of coming into force of the Succession Act 1965) on intestacy real property devolved differently from personalty. Real property on intestacy devolved to the heir at law, while personalty passed to the personal representatives and devolved to the surviving spouse or next of kin in accordance with the rules applicable at that time. Under the provisions of Part IV of the Local Registration of Title Act (Ireland) Act 1891 freehold titles bought by tenants under the Land Purchase Acts and compulsorily registered under the 1891 Act were to descend on intestacy as personalty not realty. The rules of distribution prior to 1 January 1967 are set out in Table 14 of Mongey. So in administering estates for pre 1967 deaths with land registry title, you are in effect administering personalty and not real property.

While these rules are important, one also must take into account the possibility of title being ousted through squatting. As a result many cases where a registered owner dies prior to 1 January 1967 are still dealt with under the post January 1967 rules, because the owner of the property has acquired title through squatting (where title vests after 1967) and on their death (ie on the squatters death), the property passes under the Post 1 January 1967 rules.