High Court approves €100k sale of lands worth €1m under deal for ward of court's future care

By Ann O'Loughlin

A judge has approved the conditional sale, for €100,000, of lands worth €1m owned by an elderly man who is a ward of court.

The transfer is to relatives of the man who have cared for him for decades and whose care has been valued at more than €1m, the president of the High Court, Mr Justice Peter Kelly noted.

The relatives intend to continue caring for him but the transfer conditions provide, should he require nursing home care in the future, a portion of the lands can be sold to fund that if necessary.

The man inherited the lands from his parents, who died when he was very young. He has been a ward of court for more than 50 years.

Because he lacks the necessary capacity to make a will, the relatives sought to purchase his lands for €100,000.

The general solicitor for wards of court initially opposed their application but, after certain conditions were agreed, adopted a neutral position.

The application came today before Mr Justice Kelly, who manages the wards list.

The judge said it was an “unusual” application and what was envisaged was not a “straightforward sale” but one that met the concerns of both sides.

The relatives have provided the man with care in excess of what he would get if he was in a nursing home and intend to continue doing so into the future, he said. They had received no funding towards that care, the costs of which a nursing consultant had estimated at more than €1m.

Because the man has dozens of first cousins, many of whom have had no dealings with him, all would get a portion of his estate should be die intestate. That would mean the relatives who have cared for him would get the same share as those who “have done nothing”.

The proposed amendments of any transfer of the lands meant, if the man required nursing home care in the future, a portion of the lands could be sold to fund that.

The proposed transfer would afford the man security as to his future care and would also provide some compensation to the relatives for the care provided to date,

In the circumstances, he would permit the transfer as "fair, just and equitable".


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