Man left penniless after appeal over deathbed Will
A man has been left penniless after taking his sister to court over the deathbed Will of their late mother and losing.
Gary Watts, 45, claimed his mother Valerie had written his sister, Christine, out of her deathbed Will. He said that was because he had been “diligently attentive” to the ailing pensioner, whereas he claimed his sister had only visited her twice. Gary accused his sister of being a benefits-dependent slacker who was waiting for a payout from their mother’s death to settle her debts.
However, Judge Catherine Newman QC handed Ms Watts victory last year when she ruled her brother had forged their mother’s signature on the deathbed will. She said he acted out of a “sense of entitlement” to the whole of his late mother’s £200,000 estate. She ruled in favour of a 1999 Will by which Mrs Watts split her estate equally between her two adopted children.
Christine, from Eastbourne, was handed a £100,000 share, and now her brother has failed in an appeal against that decision. To add dramatically to his woes, Mr Watts is now facing lawyers’ bills totaling £342,000 as the price of defeat. That will cost him the whole of his inheritance from his mother, and his home to boot, he says. Mr Watts said outside court, “It outweighs the whole of my late mother’s estate, never mind just my half. There will be an excess of more than £100,000 which will make me homeless. They will take my house and make me homeless.”
He added that, whilst his own barrister represented him for free, to date he owes his sister’s legal team £312,000 for the High Court trial, plus £30,000 for the failed appeal.Gary claimed Judge Newman ought to have disqualified herself from hearing the case due to professional links with his sister’s barrister. The court heard Judge Newman still works as a barrister and, at the time of the trial, was working alongside his sister’s barrister on a pending unrelated case. Mr Watts claimed that meant Judge Newman should have bowed out from hearing the will dispute. But Appeal Court judge, Sir Stanley Burnton, dismissed his challenge, saying there had been no “appearance of bias” on Judge Newman’s part.Mr McLarnon said outside court that Mr Watts is now planning to fight on in the highest court in the land, the Supreme Court. Mr Watts added, “There are two sides to every story, but this result is disgusting.”
There is a simple rule here, get good independent Altrincham financial planning advice, from your local Altrincham IFA, get your legal documents drafted in good time and talk to your family about your wishes. This story could have been resolved had people been honest and open about things prior to death. Call our independent Warrington, Knutsford, Altrincham, West Kirby or Wilmslow estate planning team today for a FREE consultation.