Re Martin Glynn Deceased

Judgment Date01 April 1992
Date01 April 1992
CourtSupreme Court
In re Martin Glynn, Deceased
In the estate of Martin Glynn, deceased; Ireland and The Attorney General
Michael Kelly, Respondent and Michael Concannon, Notice Party

Supreme Court

Succession - Will - Executor - Administration of estate - Power of court to appoint administrator where special circumstances cast which make it necessary or expedient so to do - Testator's sister given a life interest in farm - Interest in remainder vested in respondent - Respondent named as executor in will - Respondent murdering tenant for life - Capacity to benefit under will could only be determined during course of administration - Whether special circumstances existed which made it necessary or expedient to grant administration to another person - Succession Act, 1965 (No. 27), s. 27, sub-ss. 3 and 4.

Section 27, sub-s. 4 of the Succession Act, 1965, provides—

"Where by reason of any special circumstances it appears to the High Court. . . to be necessary or expedient to do so, the court may order that administration be granted to such person as it thinks fit."

By the terms of his will executed on the 29th April, 1981, the testator devised and bequeathed his farm to his sister as a life tenant, the remainder interest to vest in the first respondent. The will also named the respondent as executor of the deceased's estate. By a codicil to the will the notice party took a pecuniary legacy.

The testator died on the 15th November, 1981. His sister was murdered on the same day. On the 23rd March, 1983, the respondent was convicted of her murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.

The sole surviving next of kin renounced his right to a grant of administration. The appellants, supported by the notice party, applied to the High Court to have letters of administration granted to the Chief State Solicitor in respect of the deceased's estate. The High Court (Gannon J.) made an order granting administration to the Chief State Solicitor but limited his power under the grant to taking in and preserving the deceased's assets. He stated that the question of the respondent's capacity to benefit under the will could be addressed when he, as executor, applied for a grant of probate to the deceased's estate.

The appellants appealed to the High Court against this limitation on the grant of administration. On their behalf it was argued inter alia that the construction of the will, and, in particular the question of the capacity of the respondent to benefit under the will in circumstances where he had been convicted of the murder of the life tenant of the estate might never be determined by the courts unless a full grant of administration was taken out in the name of the Chief State Solicitor.

On behalf of the respondent it was contended that there was no statutory prohibition on a convicted felon acting as executor of a will.

Held by the Supreme Court (Finlay C.J., McCarthy and Egan JJ.) in allowing the appellant's appeal and removing the limitation on the grant of administration, 1, that s. 27, sub-s. 4 of the Act of 1965 should be given a liberal construction.

2. That the fact that the respondent accelerated his interest in remainder by murdering the tenant for life of the estate together with the fact that his capacity to benefit under the will might not be determined unless the administration of the estate was...

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9 cases
  • Dunne v Heffernan
    • Ireland
    • Supreme Court
    • 26 November 1997
    ...698 MOORE V MCGLYNN 1894 1 IR 74 LOVEDAY, IN RE 1900 PD 154 ARNOTT V ARNOTT 58 ILTR 145 SPENCER V MINSELLA 1996 2 ILRM 401 AG V KELLY 1992 1 IR 361 RSC O.79 r5 SUCCESSION ACT 1965 S55(3) 1 Judgment of Lynch J., delivered 26th day of November, 1997. [NEM 2 This is an appeal by the Defenda......
  • Darragh v Darragh
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 18 July 2018
    ...J. in that case criticised the approach taken by Smyth J. in the High Court who had relied on a decision in Re: Martin Glynn Deceased [1992] 1 IR 361. Lynch J. (at p 443) readily distinguished the decision in Martin Glynn Deceased. Lynch J. said:- 'The learned trial judge also relies on th......
  • Re Estate of Hannon: Browne applicant
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 30 July 2018
    ...of the statutory power. 14 The subsection was considered by the Supreme Court in In re the Estate of Glynn, Deceased. Ireland v. Kelly [1992] IR 361. The executor named in the will of the deceased was convicted of the murder of the sister of the deceased to whom the testator had by his will......
  • Davies v Hutchinson
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 20 November 2017 such trustees by reason of their unwarranted refusal to render accounts. 17 Lynch J. also referred to In re Martin Glynn (deceased) [1992] 1 IR 361 where the person nominated as executor under the Will of the deceased was in fact the convicted murderer of the deceased's sister. Lynch J.......
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