Money Matters

Money matters will arise in the course of every relationship, and at every stage of that relationship, good and bad. Individuals, couples, and families may occasionally need to reach out for support.

MABS – Money Advice and Budgeting Service

Where money management is an issue, assistance is available through MABS - a state funded confidential money advice service, guiding people in relation to general financial budgeting as well as assisting with managing problem debts. Their aim is to assist clients to get back on their feet and they assist people to manage money not only in relation to the interim financial difficulties arising in the course of relationship difficulties, but also in relation to long term budgeting.

The MABS helpline is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm at 0761 07 2000.

Assistance is also available online, or people can simply attend at their local MABS office. Click here for contact details for the 60 MABS offices nationwide.

It is important to attend your MABS appointment prepared, with all relevant financial information collected before the first appointment.

Social Welfare Financial Supports

There are many forms of financial support available, including Parent’s Benefit, One-Parent Family Payment, Jobseeker’s Benefit, Supplementary Welfare Allowance, and Exceptional Needs Payments. Eligibility for which form will depend upon the particular circumstances of each application. Click here for details on all forms of social welfare payments available.

Immediate financial support can be sought from every local social welfare office - the website of the Department of Social Protection provides an online 'office locator' service. 

The Department of Social Protection provides comprehensive information relating to all relevant social welfare payments and financial supports.

Citizens Information also provides a detailed overview and commentary on all matters arising in relation to social welfare, and the income maintenance structures of the State. Money and tax matters are informed by the Revenue Commissioners and again supplemental information and supports can be obtained from the money and tax page of the Citizens Information website

FLAC also offers information on applying for social welfare payments and making social welfare appeals

Personal Insolvency

Personal Insolvency is a procedure, introduced by the Personal Insolvency Act 2012 which seeks to assist individuals who cannot afford to pay their personal and mortgage debts by alleviating the existing pressures. These debt resolution processes are administered by the Insolvency Service of Ireland (ISI). Supplemental information is available at the related website www.backontrack.ie and on the personal insolvency page of the Citizens Information websiteFLAC has also published a guide to help deal with mortgage arrears in order to avoid entering insolvency.

Succession

Succession relates to the inheritance of a person’s property when they die. The rules are set out in the Succession Act 1965. The property and the things a person leaves behind when they die is referred to as the ‘estate’ of the deceased, and could range for example from a house to a car.

A will is a written, legal document in which you can set out what should happen to your estate upon your death. The Citizens Information website gives a detailed description of what a will is, how to create one and what happens if a person does not have a will.

A will can only be legally valid where the following conditions are met:

  • The will must be in writing.
  • You are over 18 years of age.
  • You have the capacity to make a will.
  • You must sign or mark the will (at the end of the document) in the presence of two witnesses.
  • Two witnesses must sign the will in your presence.

FLAC has also published an information document on Wills and Intestacy. Intestacy means dying without a will.

For information on how an estate is processed following a death, the courts.ie website has a comprehensive probate section.

Following is a brief outline of some of the key issues around succession.

Spouses, Civil Partners and Children

How much of an estate goes to parties such as spouses, civil partners and children and what claims these different parties can make depends on a number of factors.

In the case of a married couple or civil partners, the surviving spouse /civil partner has an automatic right to a fixed share in the estate of the deceased called a ‘legal right share’.

Where there is a will, the legal right share is one-half of the estate where there are no children, or one-third of the estate if there are children.

Where a person dies without a will, there are rules as to what the surviving spouse/civil partner is entitled to from the estate. If there are no children, the spouse/civil partner will take the whole estate, but only two-thirds if there are children.

Children

All children have the same succession rights, whether born to marital or non-marital parents, or where adopted. 

Children do not have an automatic right to a share in their parent’s estate if their parent has made a will, and a parent does not have to leave anything to a child in their will.

However, they can apply to court to make a claim on the estate of their deceased parent where they believe that proper provision has not been made for them. The court will consider whether adequate provision has been made, and whether it is just to grant a gift to the child and the value of that gift. An application must be made within 6 months of the Grant of Representation.

If a parent dies without a will, the Court will distribute one-third of the estate among the children, if the other parent to whom the deceased is married or in a civil partnership is still alive. If the other parent is also dead, the entire estate will be distributed among the children.

Separated Spouses and Civil Partners

The fact that the parties may have lived apart for many years does not of itself affect their succession rights.

Parties can voluntarily give up their succession rights in a separation agreement meaning that they are not entitled to the legal right share.

In granting a decree of judicial separation, a court can extinguish a spouse’s succession rights where adequate provision has been made for that spouse.

Succession Rights on Divorce or Dissolution

When a decree of divorce or dissolution is granted, succession rights no longer apply.

However, when a former spouse/civil partner dies and the surviving former spouse/civil partner has not remarried or entered into a new civil partnership, he or she can make an application to court seeking a share of the estate of their former spouse/civil partner. The court must determine whether proper provision had been made for the former spouse/civil partner on divorce or dissolution of the civil partnership. This application can only be made if no orders blocking former spouses/civil partners from doing so have been made at the divorce/dissolution hearing. The application must be made within 6 months of the Grant of Probate or Administration.

Co-habitants

A cohabitant has no automatic right to a share of their deceased partner’s estate where there is no will.

Legislation was introduced in 2010 giving succession rights to people who are not married or civil partners, but who are living together as a couple. The Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010 introduced a redress scheme for cohabiting couples, in which a cohabitant can apply to the courts to make a claim on the estate of the deceased. In order to apply for redress, you must be a qualified cohabitant, having:

  • been in a relationship of cohabitation with the other adult;
  • and immediately before the time the relationship ended, have lived with the other adult for a period of two years or more, where there are dependent children;
  • or five years or more where there are no children.

In addition, a claim must be commenced within six months of the date of the Grant of Probate.

Cohabitants may also enter into a cohabitation agreement to regulate financial matters between them. In order for the agreement to be legally valid, both cohabitants must get legal advice and it must be signed by both parties. The court can set aside or vary the agreement in exceptional circumstances.

For further information on the inheritance rights of cohabiting couples, click here.

Contacts

OrganisationTelephoneEmailWebsiteAddress
MABS - Money Advice and Budgeting Service*

Helpline: 0761 07 2000

MABS Mortgage Arrears Information Helpline: 0761 07 4050

  www.mabs.ie  To find a MABS office, click here.
The Courts Service 01 888 6000 Local email addresses available on courts.ie www.courts.ie The Courts Service, 15 – 24 Phoenix Street North, Smithfield, Dublin 7
Samaritans

Freephone: 116 123

Tel: 01 6710071

  www.samaritans.org/ireland/samaritans-ireland/ Samaritans Ireland, 4-5 Usher’s Court, Usher’s Quay, Dublin 8
Citizens Information  0761 07 4000   www.citizensinformation.ie  260 drop-in locations nationwide. Find your local centre here.
Department of Social Protection     www.welfare.ie Local Offices nationwide – online ‘office locator’
Free Legal Advice Centres

Tel:+353 (0)1 8745690 

Locall: 1890 350 250 

 

info@flac.ie

 

http://www.flac.ie 13 Lower Dorset Street, Dublin 1

*To request a call back from the MABS Helpline, email MABS at helpline@mabs.ie and write “Request for call back” in the subject line of your email. Always provide a phone number where you can talk privately, and a Helpline Adviser will try to call you back by the end of the next working day.

 

Family Law Information Research Group

School of Law, Áras na Laoi, University College Cork,

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