If you’re in a relationship with somebody, you may be entitled to a share of their estate when they die regardless of whether they have made provision for you in their will. Married couples automatically have a right to a share in their spouse’s estate and now thanks to a change in the Irish law, same sex couples and cohabitants have similar rights.
If you’re a same sex couple, you are entitled to have that relationship registered with the civil register and once you do so you will be entitled to a share of your partner’s estate irrespective of what provision has been made for you in their will. If they have made a will and there are no children you will be entitled to half the estate. If they have not made a will and there are no children you will be entitled to the entire estate. If you there are children you will be entitled to two thirds of the estate. However, this is subject to certain qualifications.
If you are a cohabitant, you do not automatically have a right to your partner’s estate. However the new legislation has allowed cohabitants to make an application to court for provision out of the deceased partner’s estate. In order to qualify you will need to be living with your partner for two years if you have children or five years if you do not have children. However, you must make the application within six months of the grant of probate; therefore time is of the essence.