Siblings lose dispute relating to their father’s Will

Two brothers have lost a legal battle arising from their father’s decision to leave a greater proportion of his estate to their stepmother.

Richard and Jonathan Powell had argued that their dad, David, who had been suffering with Parkinson’s Disease, had not been aware what he was doing when he made what had been judged to be his final Will.

The document left £125,000 to Mr Powell’s second wife, Ailsa, an increase of £25,000 from the amount which had previously been put aside.

When the retired farmer passed away in 2012, his sons had gone to court in an attempt to argue that the earlier Will should be the one taken into consideration.

Ruling in Mrs Powell’s favour last month, Judge Marc Dight criticised the siblings’ “unreasonable” actions.

“She should not have been put to the trouble and expense of proving this claim on the tenuous basis of challenge advanced by Richard and Jonathan Powell,” he said.

“My conclusion is that their position has not been reasonable at any point in this litigation. Their stance has, it is apparent to me, been driven by personal issues and not by a reasonable inquiry into their father’s state of mind.”

The Central London County Court has ruled the brothers should pay around £200,000 in costs, which will ironically mean that their own respective shares of the inheritance will be all but wiped out.

If you need advice on drafting a Will and minimising the risk of a dispute arising in relation to your estate, please contact Ian West, or Michael Woodward. If you need advice on whether to contest a Will or in connection with any claims you may have against a deceased’s estate, please contact our litigation department and contact Lisa Ginesi, Chris Corney or Seamus Smyth.