Friday 21 October 2016

Three sons sue their father over their late grandmother's will

Tim Healy

Published 14/10/2015 | 17:51

John Ginnane of Lohunda Park, Clonsilla, Dublin. Photo: Courtpix
John Ginnane of Lohunda Park, Clonsilla, Dublin. Photo: Courtpix

Three sons have sued their father in the High Court over their late grandmother's will.

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Mr Justice Paul Gilligan described as an unfortunate family dispute a case brought by David, Paul and Denis Ginnane against their father John Ginnane.

It arises out John's intention to sell his late mother Agnes Ginnane's home in Buncrana, Co Donegal, to pay back monies owed to KBC Bank.

Mrs Ginnane died in November 1996, and in a will made earlier that year, left the bulk of the estate to John, her only child. She also bequeathed IR£10,000 to each of her five grandchildren.

The three brothers claimed they never got that money and only became aware of the contents of the will a few years ago. 

They claimed that prior to her death their father took over their grandmother's assets to the extent that by the time she passed away there was effectively nothing left to be administered in her estate.

They claimed their parents went on a spending spree and acquired assets including new cars, a boat and made improvements to their home.

However they got into financial difficulties following the economic crash, and the three brothers said they were galled that their grandmothers house, which had been mortgaged by their father, was effectively owned by a bank.

As a result the three are seeking damages for alleged breach of duty and for alleged negligence.

Their action is against their father John Ginnane, a bank official of Lohunda Park, Clonsilla, Dublin, who opposed the application. Urging the court to strike out the case Mr Ginnane denied any wrongdoing and said he had more than provided for his sons. 

He had to sell the house for €150,000 to restructure his mortgage to KBC and had found a buyer, he said.

Proceedings were also brought against other parties including a solicitors firm that advised the late Agnes Ginnane, KBC Bank and the Property Registration Authority.  The claims are denied.

As part of their claim, Denis Ginnane, of Tir Danu, Cooragloon, Kells, Co Meath, Paul, with an address in Prague, and David, of Cockhill Road, Buncrana, initially wanted an injunction to be put in place preventing their father from selling the grandmothers home at Grianan Park, Buncrana, until the action has been determined by the court.

Today, they told Mr Justice Gilligan they were happy for the property to be sold, and that the proceeds of the sale be lodged in court until the case has been finally determined.

Mr Justice Gilligan refused to grant the brothers an injunction, and cleared the way for the house to be sold.

He said the brothers' application for an injunction was based on a number of misunderstandings. 

Before the late Mrs Ginnane died she entered into a joint tenancy in respect of the house in Buncrana with her son. The court could not see anything wrong with that transfer.

In addition the bank accounts she used were in joint name of the late Mrs Ginnane and John Ginnane. On her death these assets all legally transferred to John Ginnane, the judge said.

No evidence was put before the court to show there was anything untoward with this, the Judge said.

While their grandmother had made provision for them in the will, it appeared at this stage there were no assets left in her estate at the time of her death. 

The Judge said it was an unfortunate dispute involving members of the same family. It was regrettable that attempts to resolve the matter resolved through mediation had not worked out, he said.

Reminding the parties of the potential costs involved, the Judge added that careful consideration should be given about bringing the matter any further.

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