Intestacy and Step-Children

23 February 2023


I was recently instructed by John (not his real name). He was the son of Mark and Nuala. Mark and Nuala were not married. They separated and afterwards Nuala married Sean. They had a son Padraig. Mark died intestate, the owner of substantial property. The only beneficiary of the estate was John. Nuala had no claim, as she was not married to Mark, nor was she co-habiting with him. Padraig has no claim, because he is not the biological son of Mark. If Nuala died intestate, then her estate would be divided two thirds Sean and the remaining one third would be divided between John and Padraig equally.

John and Padraig are half brothers. By virtue of s. 72 of the Succession Act, they have full inheritance rights to each other’s estate on intestacy as if they were full brothers. S. 72 simply states

Relatives of the half blood shall be treated as, and shall succeed equally with, relatives of the whole blood in the same degree.

Just a worked example of how assets fall on intestacy in the case of step-children.

Hope this helps and remember if you have any probate, will drafting or inheritance tax queries, please reach out through the query service on the site.