Widow Who Forged Husband’s Will Wins Legal Battle Against Stepson
Despite the fact that a 57-year-old widow created a fraudulent Will for her late husband’s estate, Diane De Marzo has won an acrimonious legal battle with her stepson over a share in a £450,000 property.
De Marzo claimed to have used £150,000 worth of her inheritance money from her late husband, Michael Bay, to invest in the £450,000 Kent house alongside stepson, Sonny Ball.
According to Ball and his wife, Leahann, the money was actually given as a gift to the couple which would suggest De Marzo was not entitled to a share in the property.
However, a document which had been signed by both the stepmother and stepson indicated that there was an ownership agreement in favour of De Marzo’s claims.
The judge agreed in the legitimacy of the document signed in a local pub with the court set to receive more evidence that will determine whether the house will need to be sold.
Judge Simon Monty, commented: “Sonny and Leahann have wrongly denied the existence of the house purchase agreement. I do not think that the agreement between the parties, recorded in the house purchase agreement, should be defeated by Diane’s dishonesty in relation to the will.”
Although De Marzo seems to have won her share in the property, it was also revealed that she forged her husband’s Will using a free online template and asking two of her inebriated friends to sign the document by acting as witnesses during a drunken party.
De Marzo’s property developer husband, Michael Ball, died intestate in 2013. Worried that debts were starting to mount and concerned that her late husband’s real estate was unable to be sold quickly without a Will, De Marzo forged the document, applied for a grant of probate and sold two of the Spanish properties attached to the estate.
The judge has since suggested that the evidence should be referred to the Attorney General to ascertain whether charges of contempt of court and potential fraudulent criminal proceedings could be lodged.
Judge Simon Monty, concluded: “Diane took advice from an unidentified financial adviser, who told her that the only thing she could do was to ‘get an English will’. When she said she didn’t have one, the reply was: ‘Well, find one.’ Mrs De Marzo therefore drafted a will in the name of her late husband, using as a precedent her own home-made will, inserting his name in place of hers and naming herself as sole beneficiary.
“At a drunken party … she produced the will and said words to the effect of: ‘Who wants to sign it?’”
Do you find many people going to such severe lengths to ensure they receive the inheritance they feel they are entitled too? Are fake Wills a common occurrence?