Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Questions (241)

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

241. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of residential properties that the State has inherited as the ultimate intestate successor in each of the years 2011 to 2018; the number of units sold off by year; and the number of units that are retained by the State, both in use and vacant; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19609/19]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

Section 73 of the Succession Act 1965 provides that where a person dies intestate and without known next-of-kin the estate of that person shall be taken by the State as ultimate intestate successor. The functions under the Succession Act 1965 were transferred from the Minister for Finance to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform under Statutory Instrument 318 (Transfer of Departmental Administration and Ministerial Functions) Order 2015.

As well as the above, all or part of the estate of a deceased person might fall to the State where certain provisions of a will are defective or where persons who otherwise would be entitled to succeed have disclaimed their right to do so.

Upon notification to the State of the death of a person who has died intestate and without obvious next-of-kin, the Attorney General generally nominates the Chief State Solicitor to extract a Letter of Administration.

As part of the process, the Probate Office will direct as to advertising requirements seeking next-of-kin. Where next-of-kin come forward, the Grant in favour of the State can be revoked if it has been obtained or if the Grant has not been obtained then the Chief State Solicitor withdraws from the proceedings in favour of the next-of-kin.

Section 73(2) of the 1965 Act gives the Minister the right to waive the State's interest in an estate which has fallen to the State under the Succession Act 1965. The Department seeks the advice of the CSSO on applications for a waiver of the State's interest under Section 73 of the Succession Act 1965. The Chief State Solicitor’s Office, in consultation with the Attorney General’s Office, deal with the legal issues involved and the Minister makes his decision following consideration of the Attorney General’s advice.

My Department is currently engaging with the CSSO in relation to the information sought by the Deputy. Unfortunately, it is not possible to provide a response in the time available as this involves an individual review of each file. A response will be provided to the Deputy at the earliest opportunity.