Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Ceisteanna (233, 234)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

233. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if Ireland will pay financial penalties for not complying with an EU directive regarding the implementation of a wills registry; if so, the amount of penalties; the amount paid in fines over the years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51792/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

234. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the reason a wills registry has not been implemented as per an EU directive; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51793/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 233 and 234 together.

It is my understanding that the Deputy is referring to EU Regulation (650/2012) of July 2012 on jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition and enforcement of decisions, acceptance and enforcement of authentic instruments in matters of successions and on the creation of a European Certificate of Succession. I can inform the Deputy that Ireland did not take part in the adoption of this Regulation in accordance with protocol number 21 on the position of Ireland in respect of the area of freedom, security and justice, annexed to the Treaty on European Union and to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

Ireland took the decision not to opt-in to this Regulation on the grounds that, despite intensive negotiations, the final text of the Regulation would have interfered to an unacceptable extent with the manner in which estates are administered in this jurisdiction. Accordingly, there is no question of fines being imposed on Ireland.

The views of the Law Society on the desirability of establishing a registration of wills system were sought in 2005. The Society's Probate, Administration and Trusts Committee subsequently informed the Department that it did not favour the establishment of a Register of Wills for a number of reasons.

Firstly, since the registration would be voluntary, there might be very limited usage of such a service. Secondly, even where a will was registered, such registration would not guarantee the validity of the will if the statutory requirements in relation to signature, witnesses etc. had not been complied with. Moreover, there could be no guarantee that a registered will was in fact the final will of the testator concerned. I should add that the Law Society reiterated these concerns in a letter to my Department earlier this year.