Accountant Forged Mother's $50 Million Will

2nd May 2017 By Arman Khosravi

Will disputes can be extremely bitter and the kind of skulduggery depicted in fiction sadly sometimes reflects reality. In one case, the High Court found that a well-respected accountant had forged his mother’s will in order to gain control of business interests worth $50 million.

The woman signed a will in 1986 by which she left her entire estate to one of her four sons. However, some years after their mother’s death, one of his younger brothers produced another purported will, said to have been executed in 2005. If valid, that will conferred on him a stake in an asset that was described as the ‘jewel in the crown’ of a family business empire valued at around $200 million.

However, detailed forensic analysis of the 2005 will revealed that it was a forgery. For reasons of business convenience, the woman had been in the habit of signing blank documents in bulk so that their content could be filled in after the event. The impression of another signature of the deceased on the purported will, in close proximity to her actual signature, was consistent with her having pre-signed a number of empty sheets, one on top of the other.

The Court concluded that, despite his professional and business achievements, the brother had taken advantage of his mother’s practice for his own benefit. He had brazenly lied and had a powerful motive for forging the will. In the circumstances, the Court found that the 1986 document had rightly been admitted to probate as the woman’s last true will.

Source: Concious

Latest News

Challenge to Will's Validity Rejected by High Court

12th April, 2024 By

The best way to ensure your assets will be distributed as you wish is to have your will professionally drafted by a qualified solicitor. In a recent case, a challenge to the validity of an elderly man's will was dismissed by the High Court. The man had previously made a will in 2011, leaving most of his estate equally to his three children. In 2018, by which time one of his sons had predeceased him, he made a further will, leaving the residue of his estate to his other son...

Defiance of Family Court Orders Will Always End Badly

10th April, 2024 By

Custodial sentences very rarely come into play in the family courts. Where there have been repeated breaches of court orders, however, judges may have little choice but to clamp down. This was illustrated in the High Court during committal proceedings that stemmed from a child custody dispute. The background to the case involved contested proceedings between the father and mother of a young child. These concluded with a court order establishing that the child – a daughter – would live with the mother. Three months later the daughter travelled with...

Claim for SDLT Relief on Annex Unsuccessful

8th April, 2024 By

When buying a property consisting of more than one residence, it may be possible to claim multiple dwellings relief (MDR) against Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT). However, there are certain conditions that must be met for an MDR claim to succeed, as a recent case illustrates. A property was purchased for £1.8 million. Prior to the purchase, the buyer had agreed with the seller that he would be allowed to carry out works to construct a self-contained annex at the property. The buyer's SDLT return included a claim for MDR...

Divorce – Alleged Bigamy Raised in Financial Remedies Dispute

5th April, 2024 By

The issue of bigamy and its potential impact on a person's ability to seek financial remedies in a divorce came under the legal spotlight recently. A husband made an application to strike out his wife's financial remedies claim on the basis that she had committed bigamy and deceived him into a marriage when she knew she was not free to marry. This deceit, he claimed, was so egregious that, as a matter of public policy, she should be debarred from pursuing any claim for financial remedies against him. The husband based...