The children of the late Monty Python star, Terry Jones, have taken legal action against the actor’s second wife following an inheritance dispute, reports have revealed.
Mr Jones, best known for his acting and directorial roles in The Meaning of Life and Life of Brian, died in January 2020 after suffering complications resulting from a rare form of dementia.
The Welsh comedian married his first wife, Alison Telfer, in 1970 and had two children together, Sally and Bill.
However, after 43 years of marriage together, Mr Jones left his wife for then 23-year-old Swedish Oxford graduate, Anna Söderström. The pair had a daughter, Siri, in 2009, and married in 2012.
But the writer and director was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia in 2015, which led to his death in 2020, at the age of 77. The disease is characterised by behavioural and personality changes, as well as forgetfulness and language problems.
While it is not known if the disease prevented Mr Jones from making informed choices, it is reported that his two children from his first marriage are bringing the dispute under the Inheritance Act 1975, which allows family members to seek “reasonable provision” from an estate.
The court documents and contents of the Will are not publicly available, but Ms Söderström is believed to be the main beneficiary and primary defendant in the case.
Commenting on the dispute, which is still ongoing, Sally, 47, and Bill, 45, claimed Mr Jones lacked the mental capacity to draft the Will and are taking legal action against Ms Söderström at the High Court for a “large share of his estate”.
Lorraine Walker, a Solicitor with Mander Hadley, who specialises in contested Wills said: “In England and Wales there are no forced heirship laws but courts have limited powers to intervene under the Inheritance Act, where there is judged to be a failure to make reasonable financial provision for a defined class of people connected to the deceased.
“This includes the current or former spouse or civil partner of the deceased; a person who, for the two years prior to the death, was living with the deceased as if they were a spouse or civil partner; children; a person who was treated as a child; and any other person who was being maintained by the deceased.
“This case also highlights the potential issues relating to mental capacity when making a Will.”
Lorraine added: “If you believe you have grounds to contest a Will, it is important to seek prompt legal advice.
“A claim under the Inheritance Act must be made within 6 months from the date of issue of the grant of probate.
“Whilst there is no time limit to make a claim if disputing the validity of a Will, it is still important to seek legal advice as quickly as possible and preferably before estate assets have been distributed. Claims may be rejected by the court if it considers there has been undue delay in bringing a claim.”
For further information and advice about either making or contesting a Will, please get in touch with us.
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