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The Succession (Northern Ireland) Order 1996

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Statutory Instruments

1996 No. 3163 (N.I. 26)


The Succession (Northern Ireland) Order 1996


19th December 1996

Coming into operation

20th February 1997

At the Court at Buckingham Palace, the 19th day of December 1996


The Queen’s Most Excellent Majesty in Council

Whereas a draft of this Order has been approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament:

Now, therefore, Her Majesty, in exercise of the powers conferred by paragraph 1 of Schedule 1 to the [1974 c. 28] Northern Ireland Act 1974 and ofall other powers enabling Her in that behalf, is pleased, by and with the advice of Her Privy Council, to order, and it is hereby ordered, as follows:—

Title and commencement

1.  This Order may be cited as the Succession (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 and shall come into operation on the expiration of two months from the day on which it is made.


2.  The [1954 c. 33 (N.I.).] Interpretation Act (Northern Ireland) 1954 shall apply toArticle 1 and the following provisions of this Order as it applies to a Measure of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Distribution of estates on intestacy

3.—(1) In the [1955 c. 24 (N.I.).] Administration of Estates Act (Northern Ireland) 1955 (“the 1955 Act”), after section 6 there shall be inserted the following section—

Spouse dying within 28 days of intestate.

6A.  Where—

(a)the intestate dies leaving a spouse, but

(b)the spouse dies before the end of the period of 28 days beginning on (and including) the day on which the intestate died,

this Part shall have effect as respects the intestate as if the spouse had not survived the intestate..

(2) Section 17 of the 1955 Act (advancements to children of intestate to be brought into account) is hereby repealed.

(3) Paragraphs (1) and (2) have effect as respects an intestate dying after the coming into operation of this Order.

(4) In section 19(1) of the 1955 Act (construction of documents) the references to Part II of that Act and to the foregoing provisions of that Part shall, in relation to an instrument inter vivos made or a will coming into operation after the coming into operation of this Order (but not in relation to instruments inter vivos made and wills coming into operation earlier), be construed as including references to this Article.

Application for financial provision by person who lived with deceased as husband or wife

4.—(1) The [1979 NI 8] Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) (Northern Ireland) Order 1979 shall be amended as follows.

(2) In Article 3(1) (persons who may apply for financial provision from deceased’s estate) after sub-paragraph (b) there shall be inserted the following sub-paragraph—

(ba)any person (not being a person included in sub-paragraph (a) or (b)) to whom paragraph (1 A) applies;.

(3) In that Article after paragraph (1) there shall be inserted the following paragraph—

(1A) This paragraph applies to a person if the deceased died after the coming into operation of the Succession (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 and, during the whole of the period of two years ending immediately before the date when the deceased died, the person was living—

(a)in the same household as the deceased; and

(b)as the husband or wife of the deceased..

(4) In Article 5 (matters to which the court is to have regard inexercising its power to make orders), after paragraph (2) there shall be inserted the following paragraph—

(2A) Without prejudice to the generality of sub-paragraph (g) of paragraph (1), where an application for an order under Article 4 is made by virtue of Article 3(1)(ba), the court shall, in addition to the matters specifically mentioned in sub-paragraphs (a) to (f) of that paragraph, have regard to—

(a)the age of the applicant and the length of the period during which the applicant lived as the husband or wife of the deceased and in the same household as the deceased; and

(b)the contribution made by the applicant to the welfare of the family of the deceased, including any contribution made by looking after the home or caring for the family..

N.H. Nicholls

Clerk of the Privy Council

Explanatory Note

(This note is not part of the Order)

This Order—

(a)provides that the spouse of an intestate will take in accordance with the intestacy rules only if he or she survives the intestate by 28 days;

(b)abolishes the “hotchpot” rule, by which certain payments made by a person who dies intestate to his children must be brought into account by the recipient against the share of the estate to which he would otherwise be entitled; and

(c)adds to the persons who, under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) (Northern Ireland) Order 1979, may apply for financial provision out of a deceased person’s estate, a person who (though not married to the deceased) lived with the deceased as husband or wife.

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