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Probate Dispute

Summary: Being left out of a will brings out the worst in people in this probate dispute.

Two siblings, Mr Y and Mrs K, in the final months prior to their elderly father’s death, both proved to be devoted loving children, rallying around in their father’s every need. That was not always the case as this dispute showed.

Mr Y only recently reconciled with his elderly father after several years of estrangement. Mr Y had disappeared off the face of the earth; no one knew where Mr Y was over those years. Having given up on ever seeing his son again, the elderly father had decided to change his will leaving his entire multi-million pound estate to his daughter. As far as the father was concerned, his son did not exist and might well have been dead.

Re-enter the prodigal son who promptly reconciled with his ailing father. When it was discovered that Mrs K was the sole beneficiary to the father’s estate, and unable to change his father’s mind, Mr Y started proceedings contesting the will. Mr Y rationalised that his father could not possibly have been of sound mind and Mrs K must have coerced their father to make changes to the will benefiting her.

Mrs K argued that as her brother had only reappeared in recent months having evidently heard that their father was near death, he therefore did not deserve any part of the father’s estate.

The mediation was full of emotion but a negotiated settlement was reached between the two siblings. Conversely, while the mediation proceedings was a low point in this family battle, the final months prior to their father’s death proved to be a starting point to rebuilding the brother-sister relationship.

Unfortunately, as is so often the case, money and greed is a toxic combination which invariably brings out the worst in people.