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Read more articles in: Dispute Resolution, Mander Hadley

Family will dispute sees siblings fight court battle for their mother’s £850,000 estate

Three brothers, Remo, Nino and David Rae have recently lost a court battle against their sister, Rita, over their mother’s entire £850,000 estate.

Blaming the judge for being ‘grumpy’ and leaving them empty-handed, the brothers suggested that they were only left out of their mother’s will due to their sister’s poisoning influence on her. Not only this, but they suggested that Rita had planted false ideas in their mother’s mind that they had ‘abandoned’ her.

The trio of brothers fought for an equal share of the fortune in 2019. However, the judge, Deputy Master Jonathon Arkush, ruled against them and handed everything to 56-year-old sister, Rita.

Despite appealing, insisting for a second chance to fight their case and accusing Arkush of being ‘annoyed’ and ‘grumpy’, the High Court in London rejected these claims.

Having previously emigrated to the United Kingdom from Italy following the Second World War, their mother had written a will in 1985 that had equally split everything between her four children. This lost legitimacy when Anna then created another in 2015, cutting her sons out almost entirely.

Only left with very small legacies and funeral expenses, the brothers’ inheritance was diminished profoundly – whilst their sister was left with her £850,000 home in Tooting, South London.

‘I give my daughter my property absolutely as she has taken care of me for all these years. My sons have not taken care of me and my daughter, Rita, has been my sole carer for many years.’ Their mother declared in her will as Rita had moved in with her frail mother in 2009 following a heart attack.

Barrister Robin Howard argued that the brothers had no lawyers at the time and had been ‘put off their stroke’ by interventions of a judge who had ‘lost patience’ with them. Arguing that the trial was ‘unfair’ due to the attitude of Arkush, it appears that the judge had hurried them along and at one point cut off their questioning of a witness.

‘On proper analysis, I do not detect any animus towards the defendants or, more particularly, towards their case,’ argued appeal judge Mr Justice Adam Johnson.

‘He was presented with a difficult and challenging case and in my view worked hard to deal fairly with all those who were involved in it, including the defendants, about whom he was particularly concerned given their status as litigants in person.

‘For all those reasons, in my judgment the appeal must be dismissed.’

We specialise in disputes about contested wills. For help and advice on contesting a will please contact us.

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