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High Court rules on inheritance dispute between siblings over £40,000 property

The High Court has ruled on an inheritance dispute between two siblings over their mother’s £40,000 property.

Three siblings were involved in the dispute, with two of the siblings accusing their brother, Edward McCarthy of pressuring their mother to change her Will and leave the property to him as the sole beneficiary.

Their mother, Margaret Wilcox, died in 2016 after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Mr McCarthy had helped his mother purchase the property from the local authority for a discounted price of approximately £17,000, and his mother’s Will had subsequently been re-drafted, with two family friends present as witnesses.

His two siblings were due to receive 15 per cent of the property each, under the original Will, and argued that their mother had a poor memory and signed her final Will under duress, without understanding the full implications.

However, the court agreed with the assertion that Mrs Wilcox would have wanted her son to have the property after she died as he had helped her purchase the house.

This case comes as the number of Wills disputed at the High Court reached an all-time high, with 188 cases heard in 2019.

David Webb, a Director with Mander Hadley and Head of our Will and Probate department, said:  “There appear to be several key reasons for this rise, including recent research which found that a significant number of adults in the UK do not have a Will, while the complex nature of modern families can also present challenges.

“Ensuring that you have a valid and up-to-date Will is essential to avoid any issues further down the line, and to give you peace of mind. Seeking the advice of a legal expert ensures that your affairs are in order, and avoids any costly mistakes in the future.”

For help and advice on matters relating to Wills, inheritance and estate planning, contact our expert team today.

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David Webb

David Webb

Director - Head of Wills, Probate & Older Client Services
I specialise in probate and the administration of estates, trust and tax planning, preparation of Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney and Court of Protection applications.

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