Judge upholds will which saw 75 year old disinherit children for mistress

A high court judge has rejected an appeal over a will which saw a man leave his entire estate to his Mistress – and nothing to his three children.

Ken Jordan’s £2 million estate, built up through his road line painting business, was to be left to his mistress, save £100,000 each for his two sisters and third child, Ruth Simmonds following his separation from his wife in 2008.

But in January 2012, he changed his mind, deciding to leave the entire estate to his now partner Bernice Elliott, the cousin of his wife Vivienne with whom he had two children. He subsequently died in August 2012 age 75.

Before his marriage broke down after his wife discovered his affair, he had bought homes for the children he had with his wife. His first-borne child from a previous relationship, Mrs Simmonds, 58, argued she was entitled to the £100,000 to be left to her in a previous will, saying he may not have been in his right mind when he disinherited her.

But at the High Court, Judge Edward Murray rejected her claim, saying there was no sign he was “insane” or “deluded”.

Mrs Simmonds claimed her father was “confused” and not of sound mind when he signed the will in the care home and insisted he had no reason to strip her of her inheritance.

Her lawyers argued there were “real doubts” over his mental ability to make a valid will in the months before he died.

James Weale, acting for Mrs Simmonds, said: “Overall, real doubts have been raised about the deceased’s capacity and his knowledge and approval.

“Those would have been dispelled if he had contemporaneous assessment from a doctor.”

But his brother-in-law and solicitor, Richard Mumford, told the court Mr Jordan “kept his cards close to his chest”.

Mr Mumford said: “Ken never mentioned Ruth to me at all. I knew of her existence, he said she was going to pick him up and that sort of thing, but he never mentioned her.

“He never told me he had given anything to Ruth. I have no idea why he changed the will, but he knew his own mind and that is what he wanted to do.”

At the High Court, Judge Murray ruled against Mrs Simmonds and said there was “plenty of evidence” of Mr Jordan’s “firm intention” to leave everything he owned to his mistress.

He said Mr Jordan did not need to be of a “perfectly balanced mind” and his motives for disinheriting his first-born were irrelevant, even if they were “capricious, frivolous, mean or even bad”.

He added: “There is no evidence of a psychiatric condition amounting to a disorder of the mind, no evidence of insane delusion or anything of that kind.”

Today's Wills and Probate