What are my rights of a spouse on the death of the other spouse?

Spouses Rights if a Will is Written

A spouse (which includes a civil partner) has an automatic entitlement to a legal right share in their deceased spouses’ estate.  They are entitled to this legal right share even if the will doesn’t allow for it.

A spouse or civil partner is entitled to the following legal right share

  • One half of their deceased’s spouse’s estate if they do not have children.
  • One third of their deceased’s spouse’s estate if they have children.


The executor of the Will must inform the surviving spouse or civil partner in writing of the right to choose between the gift they have been given under Will (if any) or their legal right share.  A spouse or civil partner may renounce or give up the right their legal right share.  A spouse or civil partner may seek that their family or shared home is given to them as part of their legal right share but if the house is worth more than their legal right share then they may have to pay the difference to the other beneficiaries under the Will.


What happens to my Spouse’s Right if I don’t make a Will?

If you die without making a Will then your estate is distributed under the laws of succession and in that situation the following happens: –

  • A spouse or civil partner gets your entire estate if you have no children.
  • A spouse or civil partner gets two thirds of your estate if you have children and the remaining one third is divided equally among your children.


You can contact McCormack Solicitors on

Email: info@carolmccormacksolicitors.ie

Phone: 071 9621846



The contents of these pages are provided as an information guide only. While every effort is made in preparing material for publication no responsibility is accepted by or on behalf of McCormack Solicitors for any errors, omissions or misleading statements on these pages or any site to which these pages connect.


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