INHERITANCE RIGHTS OF CO-HABITING COUPLES

If you are at least 18 years old and of sound mind, you can make a Will. If you later get married or if you enter a civil partnership, that Will is automatically revoked unless the Will was made with that marriage or civil partnership in mind.

However, if you co-habit with a partner (that is, move in to live with a partner) that arrangement has no effect on your pre-existing Will.

Cohabitants and Inheritance Tax:

Even if a cohabiting partner provides for their partner in their Will, the partner will be treated as a stranger for capital acquisition tax ( inheritance tax) purposes in relation to their inheritance. Currently cohabiting partners pay tax at 33% tax on any inheritance over €16,250.00.

In the case of a cohabiting couple where the surviving partner inherits the home, the surviving partner may be liable for inheritance tax, unless the surviving partner qualifies for a dwellinghouse tax exemption.

If your cohabiting partner has not made a will or has not provided for you:

A financially dependent cohabitant may be able to apply to the court for provision to be made for them from the estate of a deceased partner if the relationship ends as a result of death or otherwise. This is known as the redress scheme for cohabiting couples. If you get redress from a court under this scheme, you may be exempt from paying capital acquisition tax. In order to apply for redress, you must be a qualified cohabitant, that is you must have been:

• Living with the person for at least five years in an intimate and committed relationship; or
• Living with the person for two years in an intimate and committed relationship if you have had a dependent child with your partner.

If you do qualify to apply under the redress scheme you still may not be entitled to any provision or share of your partner’s estate if they die. Much will depend on the financial relationship between partners, each partner’s financial circumstances and whether a partner was still married or had children and the size of the estate.

Making a Will:

Making a will can ensure that proper arrangements are made for partners and the dependents and that your property is distributed according to your wishes, subject to certain rights of spouses/civil partners and children. Tax advice can help reduce or minimise the amount of tax your beneficiary must pay.

Donal T Ryan solicitors will help you to prepare a Will that reflects your wishes. Contact us at 062 61288 or 052 7441244