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If someone dies without a Will, that person is said to have died ‘intestate’ and his/her estate is distributed according to sections 66 to 75 of the Succession Act 1965, also known as the ‘Rules of Intestacy’. In order to distribute the assets, a grant of Administration Intestate is required.

Rules Of Intestacy In Ireland
The Rules of Intestacy are set out below:
If the deceased is survived by :


  • spouse/civil partner but no children – spouse/civil partner gets the entire estate

  • spouse/civil partner and children – spouse/civil partner gets two-thirds of the estate, the remaining one-third of the estate is divided equally between children (if a child has already died his/her children take the share of the pre-deceased parent equally between them)

  • parents, no spouse/civil partner and no children – estate divided equally to both parents or entirely to one parent if only one survives.

  • Children and no spouse/civil partner – the estate is divided equally between deceased’s children (as above)

  • brothers and sisters only – the estate is divided equally between the deceased’s siblings. The children of a pre-deceased sibling are entitled to receive that sibling’s share of the estate in equal shares

  • nieces and nephews only – the estate is divided equally between those surviving the deceased

  • other relatives – divided equally between nearest equal relationship. In this case, lineal is preferred over non-linear descendants or ascendants.

  • no relatives – the state (Ireland)


1. NOTE: Apart from adopted children and some children born through the use of donor assisted human reproductive technologies, only relatives related by blood are entitled to a share of the deceased person’s estate under the Rules of Intestacy.

2. Whilst half-relatives are treated equally on intestacy, step-children and step-siblings are not entitled to inherit on intestacy and there is at present no court-relief available to anyone affected by this rule. However, in Ireland, both marital and non-marital children have equal rights under succession legislation.

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