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Siblings Raise Inheritance Disputes in Court

Disputes between family members over wills and inheritances are unfortunately more common than people might think, and a number of interesting examples have recently been reported in the media.

Brother Challenges Will

In one such case, a brother and sister have gone to court to settle a dispute over their father’s will, reports the Telegraph.

Michael Inchbald, who was a well-known interior designer, died in 2013 at the age of 92. Under the terms of a will he wrote in 2007 his estate, which is thought to be worth around £20 million, was to be shared equally between his son Courtenay and daughter, Amanda.

However, Courtenay claims that this will shouldn’t stand as his father was suffering from dementia when he signed it and wasn’t in a position to fully understand its content or implications.

He says that his father didn’t want Amanda to inherit such a large amount of money because of concerns over how she might handle it. He argues that a previous will, signed in 2005, should be taken as his father’s true will.

Under this document, Courtenay still received a half share of his father’s estate, but his sister Amanda would not receive her half share outright. Instead it would be held in trust for her and she could access the income from it, but not the capital, which would revert to Courtenay’s son or grandchildren on Amanda’s death.

However, Amanda claims that the 2007 will should stand, and the case has gone before the High Court in England to be settled.

Sister Wins Inheritance Dispute

In a second dispute, again between siblings, a woman has been awarded sole possession of her father’s scrapyard, reports the Express.

Her father Fred McGuinness had built the yard up from scratch, and taking development potential into account, it is now thought to be worth around £12 million.

When he died in 1987 he left his entire estate to his wife, and when she died in 2013 she left it all to her daughter, Denise, with no provision for her three sons. She explained this in a letter written with her will, saying that since her husband’s death her sons had ‘mistreated’ Denise and herself, and kept them out of the business.

One of her sons, David, challenged his mother’s will, saying that he and his brothers had worked for many years at the scrapyard and had expected to receive a share of the estate as their father had “promised” that the yard would be shared equally amongst the siblings.

However, the judge ruled in favour of his sister, saying that what his father had said to him was not enough to constitute a legally enforceable commitment.

David did however successfully claim ownership of a vintage Morris lorry valued at £10,000.

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