‘Best Thing Ever’—Man Who Married Carer To Escape Death

Marrying someone so you can avoid them needing to pay inheritance tax when you die isn’t that unusual—it is, however, when two men who aren’t gay do it.

The Irish Mirror ran the story of eighty-three-year-old Matt Murphy and his friend Michael O’Sullivan when they got married in December last year. This week, the newspaper caught up with the couple.

The story attracted world-wide media attention, with the two men speaking about their decision on American and German TV.

Mr Murphy is almost blind. He also suffers from giant cell arthritis, a condition that affects the optic nerve in his eye. Mr O’Sullivan is his carer and a long-time friend. When Mr Murphy decided that he wanted to leave his Stoneybatter house to his friend when he died, he realised his carer would need to pay about €50,000 in inheritance tax.

In Ireland, there are three thresholds that relate to payments on estates – €310,000 if the recipient is a child or minor grandchild (if the parent is dead) of the person. This can also apply to a parent, niece or nephew if they have worked in the family business.

The second is €32,500 for parents, siblings, their children and other linear descendants, and €16,250 in all other cases. The percentage taken from estates above the threshold is 33 percent. This doesn’t apply to inheritance or gifts made between spouses.

Speaking to the Irish Mirror, My Murphy said he thought the marriage had stopped him from “ending it all” and that it was the “best thing that has ever happened to me”. He was the one who came up with the idea to get married, and he described his and Mr O’Sullivan’s relatives as “one big happy family”.

Mr O’Sullivan has three children. His relationship broke up some time ago and Mr Murphy had suggested he move in. As he couldn’t afford to pay him as a carer Mr Murphy decided to leave his friend his home when he died.

Padraic Grennan, Finders Ireland’s business development manager, said: “This story made us smile. Mr Murphy wanted to do the best for his friend and he worked out a way of helping which allows Mr O’Sullivan to escape punitive taxes after his friend dies.

“Many people have clear ideas of what they want to happen to their wealth when they are no longer here. Matt Murphy found an imaginative way to do it—and good for him, we say.”

Finders Ireland can help in cases where someone has died without leaving a will or has no immediate relatives. We specialise in finding wills and/or the next of kin who are entitled to the person’s estate. Fill out our contact form here for more information