February 11, 2016

City solicitors 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 will in 1982 giving all her assets to the four charities

It was recently confirmed that the four charities had won their case against Alan Turner, the son of Mrs Whelen’s friend Hazel Turner.

Mr Turner was claiming that a will, created in 1999, giving the bulk of the estate to his mother, was Mrs Whelen’s last will.

When Mrs Whelen had died in 2012, a legal battle began over which of the wills should be taken to probate.

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

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

Tony Millson, head of Royds’ private client department, said: “In the end, the Judge ruled that the later will had not been properly attested and was therefore invalid. This demonstrates the dangers of home-made wills and due process not being followed.”

The charities expressed their gratitude for the bequest.

For advice on charitable trusts or bequests please contact Tony Millson or Deanna Hurst.

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