November 24, 2015

Charities win long-running will dispute

A group of charities have won their High Court battle over a £1.8million legacy.

Royds Solicitors represented Marie Curie, Action on Hearing Loss, the RNIB and the Royal Institute of Cancer Research in the dispute, which revolved around the estate of Dorothy Whelen – who had made a bequest concerning her Surrey home in 1982.

Today it was confirmed that the four charities had won their case against Alan Turner, the son of Ms Whelen’s friend Hazel Turner.

Mr Turner had claimed that a new will, created in1999, bequeathed the bulk of the estate to his mother.

When Mrs Whelen had died in 2012, a legal battle began over which of the documents should be taken into consideration.

The case was complicated by the fact that Ms Turner, who is now 95-years-old and suffering with Alzheimer’s Disease, was too ill to attend the court proceedings.

Judge John Behrens had ruled that the later will had not been properly witnessed and concluded that it should not be admitted to probate, with the earlier instructions to apply instead.

James Millar-Craig, partner in Royds’ dispute resolution department, said: “A lot of team work has gone into this week’s result. There was a five day Chancery trial with nine witnesses called to make the charities’ case.

“We are pleased that after three years, the Judge has ruled in our clients’ favour.”

For advice on contentious trusts and estates, please contact Stewart Wilkinson, Chris Rodda or Tony Millson

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