Know your rights: Littering 6th May, 2021
I regularly walk near my home and I’ve recently noticed a lot of rubbish on the paths. Is there anything I can do about it?
Littering in an open or public place is an offence. Your local authority is responsible for keeping public places under their control, clear of litter. If you notice illegal dumping, you should report it to your local authority, or call the 24-hour National Environmental Complaints Line on 1850 365 121. The local authority will investigate your complaint and take action if necessary. If the local authority can find out who owns the rubbish, the owner can be prosecuted, even if they haven’t been caught in the act of dumping.
Local authority litter wardens and Gardaí can impose penalties for littering. People who litter can get an on-the-spot fine of €150, or if convicted they can get a maximum fine of €4,000.
If you own or are responsible for somewhere that is open to the public, it is your responsibility to keep it litter-free. This includes public parks, bus and train stations and school campuses. If you are a dog owner and do not remove your dog’s waste from public places and dispose of it properly, you can be prosecuted in the District Court.
You should contact your local authority to get more information on anti-littering campaigns or projects in your area.
Know your rights: Inheritance rights of cohabiting couples
My partner and I have two young children together. We live together but we are not married and haven’t got around to making our wills. If something happened to one of us, would we automatically be entitled to each other’s estate?
It is important for you and your partner to discuss the matter of inheritance sooner rather than later. Because you are not married, neither of you is automatically entitled to inherit anything from the other. If your partner dies without a will, you have no right to any share of their estate no matter how long you have been together. So, for example, if you live with your partner but they own the house, you could be left in very difficult circumstances if they were to die unexpectedly.
If you own items jointly, these automatically pass to you and are not part of your partner’s estate. However, you might need to pay Capital Acquisitions Tax if the inheritance is above a certain threshold or value.
If your partner has not made a will or has not provided for you, you may be able to apply to the courts to provide for you from your partner’s estate. This is known as the redress scheme for cohabiting couples. If you get redress by a court under this scheme, you may be exempt from paying Capital Acquisition Tax.
However, making a will can ensure that proper arrangements are made for you and your dependants and that any property is distributed in the way you both wish, subject to certain rights of spouses and children. Tax planning advice can help reduce or minimise the amount of tax your partner or family must pay. A solicitor can help you draft a will or you can draft one yourself.
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