‘Disinherited’ Daughter Could Lose Home In Estate Battle

Sonya Young, faces losing the £260,ooo home she won in her divorce settlement, after losing a legal battle with the RNLI, in which her father, an avid lifeboatman left the charity a large legacy.

In 2008, Ms Young’s father Brian Cole created a will naming her as his main heir. But in a subsequent will in 2012 he disinherited her in favour of his partner Angela Saunders.

In 2013, Mr Cole wrote his third Will leaving approximately £268,000 to the RNLI funding the lifeboat in Penarth Wales, where he used to be a member of the crew. In this will he left £5,000 to both his daughter and partner.

Mr Cole took his own life in August on 2013, 25 days after signing off his third will.

In 2015, Ms Young began a legal battle against the RNLI claiming her father was not of ‘sound mind’ when he created and signed off on the final will.  She cited that her father had a problem with alcohol and a history of ‘boozing’ suggests he had been deluded at the time he created and signed off the third will.

In 2019, the Judge ruled in favour of the RNLI. The court hear that Ms Young has ‘dissipated’ approximately £54,000 and then ordered her to hand over £214,000 to the charity.

Judge Paul Teverson found in favour of the charity, upholding the will and ruling that Mr Cole had known what he was doing.  The Judge said, he [Mr Cole] had made a conscious decision to ‘disinherit’ his daughter after a bad falling-out.

At the beginning of August 2020, another Judge placed a £140,000 charging order on Ms Young’s property – the £260,000 property she was awarded in her divorce proceedings – to recoup the missing £54,000 and the charities legal costs.

Daniel Burton – the RNLI’s barrister – told the court there was a troubled history between father and daughter, and that there had been some ‘fundamental disagreement’ between them.

He added:

“The evidence is clear that his intention was to disinherit his daughter and he had already done that pursuant to his previous will.”

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