Tuesday 21 November 2017

Brother entitled to €315,000 from mother's will

Tim Healy

THE High Court has ruled a retired man is entitled to €315,000 from his late mother's estate.

In a judgment today, Mr Justice Roderick Murphy made a declaration under section 17 of the Sucession Act 1965 that the late Mary Bolye, who died in April 2001, had failed in her moral duty to make provision for one of her sons, Walter Boyle.

In her will, Mrs Boyle, whose husband the late John Boyle had passed away in 1992, left all her interest in the licensed premises at the Square Kildare, Co Kildare to another son Jarlath Boyle.

That interest included shares in the company which ran the pub business, John Boyle Ltd, stock, all business debts due to her, a dwelling house, as well as the contents and furniture of the house.

Sums of £2,000 were left to her sons Joseph and Seamus Boyle, and her daughter in law Marie. The residue was left to her children Walter, Joseph, Seamus and Mary.

Jarlath and Seamus Boyle were appointed as executors and trustees of her will. A grant of probate was extracted in January 2012.

Arising out of the will, Walter, who has lived in the UK for many years, and his brother Joseph brought a High Court action against their siblings Jarlath and Seamus in their capacity as executors.

Walter and Joseph sought a declaration from the court that their mother had failed in her moral duty to make proper provision for each of them in accordance with her means and asked the court to do so.

In an affidavit, Walter (aged 66) said the effect of the will left his brother Jarlath with two homes, a well stocked business, accompanying property, and the benefits from a lease with Bank of Ireland which was part of the assets of the company.

He also claimed the residue of which he received a quarter share came to €12,679, while the assets of the company were worth €2.5m in 2004.

However in 2011 the assets were valued at €630,000.

The court heard that he had a relatively short working life as he had spent a number of years in the priesthood. He was now retired but only received a small state pension.

Joseph Boyle, an engineer, (aged 67), in his affidavit, said the will did not make adequate provision for him. He said that his late parents had never treated any of their children differently.

Opposing the application, Jarlath Boyle said in his affidavits to the court disagreed with his brothers. It was not true to say that their mother had failed to make proper provision for Walter or Joseph.

He said his parents made provision for all their children as best they could bearing all their interests and abilities in mind.

He had been working in the family pub business since the late 1960's,and had remained working with them all his life. He said his mother was an astute businesswoman and had consideration for all her children and had dealt with them as fairly as possible.

Jarlath Boyle said that it was clear that he was the only one of his siblings who had shown any interest or desire to work in the family business, which he added required additional investment. The company, he added, was struggling and was not in a healthy financial position.

He also said that the shareholding was the only substantial asset of his mothers estate, apart form the cash which was distributed evenly.

When the matter was before the courts last November, Mr Justice Murphy made a declaration in favour of Walter Boyle after being statisfied that a proper provision had not been made for him in his mother's will. The matter was referred to mediation.

However the parties were unable to agree and the court was asked to decide on the proper distribution of the estate.

No declaration was made in respect of his brother Joseph.

Today Mr Justice Murphy ruled that Walter Boyle should receive €315,000, which should be funded out of his brother Jarlath's share of their mother's estate.

Mr Justice Murphy also found that there had been an inordinate an inexcusable delay by Jarlath Boyle in extracting a grant of probate, despite repeated calls to do so by Walter.

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