What happens terminally ill son’s inheritance from mother?

Mother’s estate will be divided in accordance with the will she has made

If a son or daughter dies before a parent, their inheritance from the parent will become part of their own estate.

If a son or daughter dies before a parent, their inheritance from the parent will become part of their own estate.

 

My elderly mum has a will naming myself and my two siblings as her beneficiaries. My brother is terminally ill. I can’t remember any of our children being named in the will but does his share automatically go to them?

Ms M.B., email

Not automatically. The position when someone dies is that their estate is disbursed in accordance with their wishes. Those wishes must be contained in a properly written and witnessed will. This is fairly straightforward and I’m sure is familiar to you.

Your mum’s estate will eventually pass in accordance with the will she has already made – divided between you three siblings.

If one or more of those siblings predeceases their mother, then the inheritance forms part of their estate. In other words, if your brother dies before your mother, his inheritance from her will become part of his own estate. It will then be handled in accordance with the terms of his will, assuming he has made one. I’m assuming that, knowing he is terminally ill, he will have made this sensible provision.

Among married couples, especially where there are still young or dependent children, it is quite common for the estate to be passed in its entirety to the surviving spouse, in large part because there is no tax on inheritance between spouses, regardless of the amount involved. But what he does in his will is entirely a matter for him.

If, however, he dies intestate – without making a will – then your mother’s inheritance to him will be dealt with under the laws of intestacy. In those circumstances, your mother’s inheritance would go to his children – not his spouse or partner.

Please send your queries to Dominic Coyle, Q&A, The Irish Times, 24-28 Tara Street, Dublin 2, or email dcoyle@irishtimes.com. This column is a reader service and is not intended to replace professional advice

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