Q & A with Elaine Corcoran

By Elaine Corcoran

Elaine Corcoran

Elaine Corcoran is a Solicitor working in Ringsend. She is mum of two boys and lives locally. She is here to answer readers’ questions and to give some guidance on current legal trends / developments. Elaine can be contacted on 01 5617900 or by email: elaine@corcoransolicitors.com 

Please email any questions that you have for Elaine to newsfour@gmail.com.

Dear Elaine 

My brother John passed away recently, he never married and did not have any children. I am the only surviving sibling and I have been tasked with looking after his affairs. He spent six years in a nursing home prior to his death and was suffering from dementia. He owned his own house and would have a small amount in the bank. I have very little information on his finances and I am not sure where to start, any advice would be welcome. 


Hi Bernie

You will firstly need to find out whether or not John left a Will. Unfortunately there is no central Wills registrar. I would suggest telephoning the local solicitors and asking them to check their records, if you engage a solicitor, they can place an advertisement in The Law Society Gazette calling for the Will. 

If there is no Will and as there is no spouse or children, you as the surviving sibling are entitled to take out a Grant of Administration. You will need to apply to the Probate Office for a Grant of Administration in order to sell / transfer the house and access bank accounts. You mentioned that your brother was in a nursing home, under the HSE Nursing Home Support Scheme the loan may be subject to interest and penalties if not paid off in a certain time frame, for this reason you should get matters moving. If you engage a solicitor, they will assist with the application. Your solicitor will write off to the various financial institutions to ascertain all assets and liabilities of the estate, make the application to the Probate Office, obtain the Grant of Administration and disperse the estate in due course. 


Dear Elaine 

My estranged husband passed away a number of months ago. I obtained a Maintenance Order against him but he never paid and left me in a very difficult position for a number of years with my then young children. Neither of us ever issued separation or divorce proceedings and I am wondering if I am entitled to claim from his estate. 


Hi Julia

Under The Succession Act 1965 you are entitled to claim from your husband’s estate. It is known as your ‘Legal Right Share’ and where there are children, you are entitled to one third of the estate. You are also entitled to claim for the unpaid child maintenance and this will be deemed a debt against his estate. I would suggest contacting your solicitor who will contact and deal with your husband’s estate on your behalf.