Siblings At War Over Share Of £1.5M Inheritance

Two Sisters are in the middle of a warring legal court battle with their pilot brother over £1.57m  family inheritance because they claim their mother was meant to give him less as he is rich already.

When their mother, Freda Burgess died aged 90 in 2016, she had signed a Will three years earlier which bequeathed her former BA pilot son, Chris Burgess an equal share of £500,000 along with his two sisters.

However, his sisters, Jennifer Penny and Catherine Kennard argued that they were meant to receive more inheritance than their brother.

The sisters both claim that their mother was too weak to understand what she was signing in 2013 and feel that a Will that she had signed in the previous year should be treated as her final wishes.

The sisters’ barrister, Katherine McQuail told the Court that Freda had suffered a fall nine days before signing the Will, so we cannot be completely satisfied that she knew and approved the 2013 Will.

McQuail further argued that the Will was not properly witnessed and there had been inadequate family discussions before or after the 2013 Will was signed.

The sisters felt that an earlier executed Will, where they would each receive 40% of the estate and their brother the remaining 20%, should be accepted as their mother’s final wishes instead.

Prior to his death, Mr Burgess Sr, explained the reasons for the Will that would benefit his daughters considerably more than his son, whom he claimed had made a considerable success of his life and would therefore be less reliant on the inheritance.

The statement from Mr Burgess Sr, read: “I am delighted that by reason of his own endeavours the circumstances of my son are much improved to those which pertained in earlier years so that I felt I could benefit his sisters somewhat more.”

Chris Burgess denied forcing the new version of the Will on his mother and insisted that following the death of his father, he had carried out the express instructions of his Will and worked collaboratively with his mother to ensure her wishes were fulfilled.

Chris Burgess claimed: “I assisted my mother in everything, I just did whatever she told me and I explained everything I was going to do. I never did anything against her wishes.”

Thomas Dumont, Chris Burgess’ lawyer, insisted that his client was: “palpably honest and generous individual who did his utmost to provide his mother with comfort and support when she needed it. He was surprised by his mother’s desire to change her will, but it was her idea and he had never raised it with her.”

The decision in the case has been reserved by presiding Judge Catherine Newman QC.

Do you find that more Wills, made by elderly donors or those losing capacity, are being contested? Should this Will be considered legitimate? 

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