An Odd and Bitter UK Estate Battle by Cindy Nelson Elder Law Attorney in Cherokee County, Georgia

An estate battle in the United Kingdom pits four large charities against the son of a 95-year-old Alzheimer’s patient whom the charities accuse of fraudulently creating a new will for another woman.

In an interesting estate battle in the United Kingdom, two facts are not disputed. First, in 1982 Dorothy Whelan executed a will that would have left her £1.6 million estate, including her Greater London area home, to four charities. Second, a new will was created in 1999 that revoked the earlier will and instead left the estate, including the home, to Hazel Turner.

When Whelan passed away in 2012, the charities sued Turner claiming she created the second will fraudulently. She is now 95-years-old and incapacitated due to Alzheimer’s, so her son is fighting the battle on her behalf.

The Turner side of the story is that Whelan and Turner were childhood friends and continued that friendship until Whelan passed away. According to this side, the 1982 will reflected the wishes of Whelan’s husband with whom she created mirror wills.

The husband wanted to support the charities, but when he passed away in 1989 Mrs. Whelan changed her mind and wanted to take care of her friend.

The charities, on the other hand, claim that the 1999 will was created under suspicious circumstances. They claim that Whelan may not have been competent at the time. The charities also claim that the alleged witnesses to the 1999 will have no recollection of seeing Whelan and that they thought they were witnessing a will for Mrs. Turner.

The Daily Mail has more on this story in “Charities in court battle with son of frail 95-year-old who ‘tricked friend into signing over her £1.6million fortune in will’.”

A court has taken this case under advisement and will issue a ruling in the future. It is undoubtedly a difficult decision as Mrs. Turner is unable to defend herself and tell her side of what happened in 1999.

Reference: Daily Mail (Nov. 10, 2015) “Charities in court battle with son of frail 95-year-old who ‘tricked friend into signing over her £1.6million fortune in will’.”

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