Wilkes Advises on Complex Inheritance Dispute

West Midlands law firm The Wilkes Partnership has advised on a complex inheritance dispute, acting on behalf of the successful claimant. After a High Court trial a nephew has won back his aunt’s entire £300,000 estate after she disinherited him in favour of her window cleaner.

Cecil Bray, now 82, gave up his retirement job to care for his elderly aunt who, in return, promised that she would leave him her house in her will. His aunt Julie Spalding then subsequently prepared wills leaving her estate to her window cleaner breaking that promise.  Julie Spalding was also alleged to lack the requisite capacity to execute these wills.

The Wilkes Partnership presented several claims to court and proved that Mrs Spalding promised to leave her property to her nephew. They also proved that Mrs Spalding lacked the capacity to draft a valid will.

Mark Terrar, contentious probate solicitor at The Wilkes Partnership and associate member of ACTAPS, said:

“My client gave up a lot to care for his aunt, at a significant cost to not only his finances but also his health. The Court agreed with Mr Bray that his aunt’s promises to him should be enforced. We also successfully advanced a challenge to Mrs Spalding’s capacity to execute a will. I am delighted that after advising Cecil Bray for over three years he will now be able to inherit what is rightly his.”

The case highlights the importance of obtaining expert legal advice when preparing a will. For instance, the fact that Mrs Spalding’s advisors did not obtain medical evidence that she had capacity – arguably essential when a will is being made by an elderly person – was key in the judge’s decision that her amended wills were not valid.

The Wilkes Partnership has a team of experienced specialist contentious probate solicitors who deal with all aspects of disputes arising from wills, estates and trusts.

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