In short, the answer is yes: your half-sister will be entitled to a share of your father’s estate upon his death.
Assuming that it has not been adopted and therefore her inheritance rights are still intact, your half-sister will have a right to your father’s estate in accordance with section 117 of the Inheritance Act of 1965.
Since your father did not provide for his daughter during her life, the court may decide that she is entitled to a share of his estate to compensate for her moral inability to adequately support herself as a parent.
The court will look at the gifts you and your sisters have received from your father as well as your stepsister’s life circumstances and rule accordingly.
It should be noted that just because your half-sister was born out of wedlock does not mean that her rights are inferior to you and your sisters and the court will take a cautious approach when dividing her share.
However, there are steps you can take to protect your own interests in your father’s estate.
If you are looking to protect your right to the family farm, it may be in your best interest to suggest to your father that he make a testamentary gift to his daughter or that he donate one while she is alive. This would reduce her entitlement if she made a claim under Section 117 and potentially prevent any claims from her on the farm. Of course, your dad should consult his lawyer and tax advisor before a gift is given, and your dad should tell his lawyer about this girl as well.
You may also consider transferring the farm to your unique name during your father’s lifetime, provided your father has the ability and is happy to do so. This is the only guaranteed way to protect your claim on the farm.
In the event that your father does not transfer the farm to you and leave you with what he always promised you in his will, you may be able to exercise estoppel. Because your father promised you that the farmland was bequeathed to you, you may be able to keep that promise.
In order for the promise to be fulfilled, it must be shown that your father, in no uncertain terms, assured you that the farm was yours to inherit and on the basis of this assurance you acted according to your decision.
- Karen Walsh, from an agricultural background, is a lawyer at Walsh & Partners, Solicitors, 17, South Mall, Cork (021-4270200), and author of Farming and the Law. Walsh & Partners also specializes in personal injury claims, transfer of ownership, probate and family law.
– E-mail: [email protected] – Web: www.walshandpartners.ie
While every precaution is taken to ensure the accuracy of the information in this article, lawyer Karen Walsh accepts no responsibility for any errors or omissions, and you should seek legal advice regarding your particular situation. as soon as possible.