Family wins inheritance dispute after brother agrees to scrap redrafted Will

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The sister and niece of a childless widow, who died in March 2016, have won a legal battle after alleging that she was coerced into writing a new Will on her hospital bed.

According to reports, the late Shirley Guymer amended her Will two months before her death, leaving her £645,000 property to her brother and his sons.

However, her sister and niece claimed that the men “guided Ms Guymer’s hand” and “bullied” her into leaving the contents of her estate to them.

Arguing before the court, the brother said Ms Guymer was “stubborn and strong” and knew her own mind when the 78-year-old’s Will was redrafted in hospital.

However, the men dropped their case today, agreeing that the redrafted Will specifying that the house should be left to them should be scrapped.

It means that the woman’s estate will be distributed as per her last written Will, drafted in 2015, stating that her estate should be divided between her 11 nieces and nephews. A portion of her estate will also be left to a charity who cared for her late husband.

Commenting on the outcome, niece Karen Reeve said: “We are absolutely delighted with the outcome and that Shirley’s wishes will be carried out.

“We are really pleased that Rowans Hospice, in Waterlooville, will now be receiving a legacy for the care that they gave to my late uncle, Shirley’s husband.

“This has taken four years of hard work. I would like to thank my mum Diane Stoner, my husband and all of my family.”

OGR Stock Denton Partner, Ian Pearl commented: “According to reports on this case, the claimants were seeking to set aside the last will on the grounds of (1) lack of testamentary capacity and/or (2) undue influence.

“The defendants withdrew their claim after the trial had commended but before the Court made its findings. This resulted in the claimants effectively succeeding in their claim to set aside the deceased’s last will.

“This case is evidence that whilst undue influence remains one of the hardest causes of action to rely upon to set aside a will and notwithstanding the relatively few cases of undue influence going to trial, defendants will still be advised that success is by no means guaranteed.”

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Ian Pearl
Partner - Litigation
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Contentious Probate, Litigation
Posted in Blog, Contested Probate, Dispute Resolution, Private Client.