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Probate - Two Wills

The deceased, James Brown, owned family lands in Co. Mayo. When he was 18, he emigrated to

England then at 30 to Australia where he married and built up a successful plant and machinery hire business. He had very strong connection with his Mayo lands and visited it almost every year and stayed in a cottage he had renovated. There was evidence that he took an old-fashioned view on land, and that his Irish land should go to his son, Tony.

 

The deceased made a Will in 1985 where he left all his lands, Australian and Irish to his wife and Tony and any other children he might have. He subsequently had three more children. In 2000, he made an Irish Will dealing with all his Irish assets. In 2004 he made a further Will in Australia stating that he revoked all Wills previously made. However, it also stated that the Will was ‘intended to deal only with my estate in Australia and shall not affect any Will made by me in respect of my Irish assets.’

 

The question before the Irish court was whether the deceased had revoked his Irish Will.

 

The judge noted that the Australian Will was intended to deal only with his assets in Australia and would not affect any Will made in Ireland in respect of his Irish assets. 

 

The judge noted the deceased widow, who was the sole beneficiary of the Australian Will, supported the view that the Mayo land should go to his son, Tony.

 

The judge saw it was clear that the deceased distinguished his Irish assets from his Australian assets and there was no evidence that he had changed his mind about leaving his Irish lands to his son, Tony, and that he did not intend to revoke his Irish Will with his subsequent Australian Will.

 

The judge admitted the Irish Will to probate.

 

In the Matter of James Browne, Deceased [2024] IEHC 13.

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