Judge Kelly: dead developer's tiny estate "extraordinary"


Prominent builder and developer Liam Maye died on 5th May 2008. In his lifetime, he had founded Castlethorn Construction, the company that built Adamstown and the Dundrum Town Centre.

A little over a month after his passing, a grant of probate was issued, based on an accountant’s affidavit. This placed a net value on the estate of €53,299. The gross value was not much higher, at €72,900.

This valuation came as a surprise to one of the man’s main bankers, AIB. The bank had been receiving periodic reports, presumably from the man himself and/or his accountant, indicating a net worth of €100m.

As of today, AIB claims it is owed €58m from the estate.

The bank failed in its attempt yesterday to have an action against the estate’s executrix (Mr Maye’s widow) run in the fast-track Commercial Court; instead it will be heard in the ordinary High Court. The Irish Times reports that Mr Justice Kelly described the valuation as “extraordinary”, and said it should have resulted in alarm bells ringing earlier than they seem to have done in the bank.

And just to put a smile on your face, the AIB loans are headed to NAMA, subject to the agency’s review.


For the hard of thinking, like myself, is it possible to explain wtf has happened here? I mean, how could this guy have borrowed €58 million, and there be as close to nothing as makes no difference left in his estate?

And, I suppose, how long until this thing gets its hearing in the High Court?


Weeelllllll, to speculate on what happened might be to invite libel or defamation actions :angry:

What can safely be said is that probate is a serious business & requires sworn statements from people & if your name isn’t Willie O’Dea, knowingly swearing false statements is a very, very serious business !

If however this runs in the usual ‘Irish’ way; then all the incendiary statements & actions were taken by the deceased, & now the only real threat is someone underpaid death-duties, or some professional might face the horrors of regulation by their peers because they signed off on something they shouldn’t have :unamused:


I’m also rather surprised a grant of probate was made in 1 month on such a (seemingly) complex estate. I thought even a straightforward domestic probate took many months.


Only if the person had any assets :angry:


Well, there are two options:

  1. They were good at shifting assets around either out of the jurisdiction or to other family members within the inheritance limits. Not suggesting any illegality here; the laws on such seem remarkably lax (witness chappie transferring all sorts of stuff to wife to leave the country and not pay tax on…).
  2. He wasn’t rich. The whole thing was pretty much spoof, apart from minor amounts salted away. He was as incompetent as fuck with money and it all disappeared in looking the part, buying rapidly depreciating kit and gambling on the stockmarket.


Foursome buy Flannery’s for €14.5 million ->
December 09 2008


That worked out well so!

Flannerys! - 14.5m??? XX


When I want to get bollock-to-bollock intimate with a sweating cuchie while drinking warm beer to a soundtrack of deafeningly loud music, Flanney’s is my first stop. €15m? Farking priceless mate.


was in there late evening after the dublin-meath game and there was no more than 20 drinkers in the whole place.


Nice. The song is usually Bryan Adam’s Summer of 69. There isnt a culchie alive that doesnt get up for that one.


I thought you couldn’t slander/libel a dead man ?


That’s coz we culchies have soul.


Perfectly correct !

But then the dead are rarely interested in evading taxes & debts.


You could buy a lot of sledgehammers for €58 million you fucking tulips.

But well done AIB for handling this delicate matter so sensitively



In general the greater part of work is done before papers are lodged in the Seat Office. Once the papers are in order and the Revenue Affidavit sworn and returned a Grant of Probate will issue quite quickly. Nothing unusual about a Grant being given within the timeframe mentioned here.

Where the fortune this man apparently had has gone, is quite another question. He could of course have transferred the greater part of hs assets to his spouse -in which case they would not form part of his estate.

Since there is no CAT liability on any amount of wealth transferred to a spouse he could have happily done so -delaying any CAT on family assets -should he have children. The Revenue Affidavit will probably disclose this. Peter Kelly’s metaphorically raised eyebrow is understandable -but he may not have had sight of the Affidavit -only a copy of the Grant and it does not mean that there is necessarily anything amiss


Does a transfer before death (within a certain timeframe) not count as an inheritance when the person actually dies? I know this is the case in the UK, but is it here?

So, for example, if I was dying of cancer, could I get a loan of 10 million, give a million to each of my family and my friend and then just say “screw you, urgh” and die to the bank?


Any transfers which may be construed as an attempt to avoid just debts would probably be overturned. Many of the spate of transfers to spouses in the past year or two are certainly open to successful challenge.

Liabilities in the general sense will remain as debts to be satisfied out of the dead person’s estate. Generally the separate corporate existence of companies would have given many developers limited liability but of course as we know in the dying days of the mad economy many of them gave personal guarantees.

Whatever wealth which this man may have legitimately acquired may well have been transferred and may not have been subject to any charges or guarantees. Estate planning has become quite an art and like ‘limiting’ one’s tax liability as distinct from ‘tax avoidance’ is perfectly legal.

There is a three year provsion with respect to the disposal of assets before death but my understanding of this part of the 65 Act is that it is activated where a spouse or children may have had their expectaions disappointed rather than ‘strangers’ or other parties.


AIB were led to believe that Maye was ‘worth’ €100m, by which professionals I ask ???


I really hope you are right,
but i’ll believe it when I see it.