Widow successfully sues step-son despite forging husbands Will

Published 31 Jan 2019

The widow of a wealthy property investor has succeeded in suing her step-son over disputed property, despite forging her husband’s Will.

Case summary

A UK woman had used £150,000 of inheritance money from her late husband, a property investor, to loan to her step-son to purchase a £450,000 house. Her understanding of the agreement was that she would partially own the property, and reside there with her step-son and his wife. Despite the agreement, her step-son suddenly alleged that she had no right to the property as he understood the money was not a loan, but a gift. She claimed to have been evicted from the residence “like a dog”, and subsequently filed legal action against her step-son.

In an unexpected turn of events during court proceedings, it emerged that the woman had allegedly forged her husband’s Will as he had died intestate. As a property investor, the deceased had a number of houses in his possession, including apartments in Spain and a large villa. The woman allegedly sought financial advice to determine whether she could inherit the properties, and was told she needed to find a Will and obtain probate in order to claim them.

The allegations reveal the woman opted to forge a Will under the name of the deceased with only herself as a beneficiary, and during a night of drinking with friends, produced the Will and asked if anyone would sign it as a witness. After this revelation, she was reported to the attorney-general for forgery. Despite the claim of forgery and the subsequent potential of criminal charges, the woman proceeded to win the court case between herself and her step-son and was awarded her share of the property.

Do I have claim to an estate if there is no Will?

If someone passes away without a Will, their assets are distributed according to the Succession Act 2006 (NSW), which takes into account spouses and dependents of the deceased. Unless someone files a family provision claim, the estate of the deceased generally stays within the family circle, including parents and grandparents, and in most cases doesn’t account for close friends or cherished organisations.

When filing a family provision claim, or any form of Will disputes, it is vital to seek the counsel of experienced contesting Will lawyers to ensure you have a viable case and professional backing to aid in the grey areas of intestate claims. GMP Contesting Wills Lawyers operate on a No Win No Fee basis, and offer a 90 day free trial of legal services to ensure awareness of our professionalism and dedication to our clients. If you are contesting a Will, or are unsure of your eligibility to claim an estate, get in contact with our team.

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