Thursday 14 December 2017

Final wishes of radio star reveal some home truths

GERRY Ryan's last will and testament records that his estate, valued at €1.3m, should be left to his wife Morah in the event of his death.

Much happened in the personal life of one of the country's' most vivacious and highly paid broadcasters since he signed his last wishes, contained in three simple pages, in November 1992.

In 2008, after 26 years of marriage, he split from Morah. Ryan later began a relationship with UNICEF Ireland chief and former South African ambassador to Ireland Melanie Verwoerd.

Although he moved on in his personal life, Morah remained the chief beneficiary in his will.

Entertainment law solicitor James Hickey, who is also the CEO of the Irish Film Board, was named alongside Morah as joint executors of his estate.

How much Morah will inherit from the €1.3m estate is uncertain and a detailed schedule of her late husband's assets are unknown. In the aftermath of his death, colleagues and friends spoke of how stressed Ryan had been about his personal finances, despite earning €630,000 in 2008 and €567,000 in 2009.

Ryan, who with Morah had five children, did not -- land registry records suggest -- engage in wild property speculation.

Their family home in Clontarf was one of their chief assets, although three separate mortgages had been taken out on the property in the years leading up to Ryan's death.

The mortgages were drawn down in March 2002, December 2005 and in April 2006 -- all with Irish Life and Permanent -- but the amounts borrowed were not known and it was also not known if all were satisfied.

Like many of RTE's top stars, Ryan held a contract with RTE through a private limited company called Balcom Management where he and Morah were directors.

Their son Rex has now replaced Ryan as a director at the company and the first set of annual accounts since Ryan's death are due later this year.

Ryan was heavily in debt when he died, despite his massive earnings.

Abridged accounts show that he took a series of interest-free loans, some €316,470 by the end of 2009, as the company was losing money and had lost just under €230,000 in that year.

By the end of 2009, accumulated profits for Balcom had dropped to just over €160,000 from over €390,000 a year earlier.

As a director of a limited company, Morah should be protected from any debts owed by it and it is not known if Ryan's personal borrowings from the company were extracted from his overall estate before it was finalised.

Just months before his death, Ryan had himself benefited from his late mother's will.

Following her death, Maureen Ryan left the RTE star a share of her €1,010,000 estate. The sum was split between Gerry and his two brothers, Vincent and Michael.

Irish Independent

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