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Missing Mum's family entitlements

My Dad died last year at the age of 80 with no Will. He was separated from our mother who left him 20 years ago and the last we heard of her was we think she went to Australia. We have been told that she may have a claim of two thirds of my Dad’s estate. Where do we stand?

Is she still alive? - The listener should try to make contact with her family.

If she still cannot be found The listener will have to have her declared legally dead by order of the court in Ireland. Will involve extensive enquiries in Australia, ads in Australian papers etc. 

If she is still alive you must prove that she deserted him or have a separation agreement involving waiver of rights under Succession Act otherwise then she may be entitled to the two thirds.                        

If she is declared legally dead then this listener and siblings will share the whole estate between them.

The rules on a declaration of presumption of death can be complex and it's best to consult a solicitor - who will probably be needed anyway to wind up the estate.

The issues raised in the answer to this NewsTalk listener's question are dealt with in a general way as can only be the case on live radio. Before relying on the advice given in this answer, whether you heard the broadcast or are for the first time reading the issues here please do not rely on the broad advice given. For a detailed professional opinion please consult a qualified legal advisor and for further details read our disclaimer on the Home Page.

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