Pettiness Costs Brothers Entire Inheritance, Elder Law Attorney, Woodstock, GA

Not all disputes over an estate are worth bringing. A recent case from the U.K. illustrates why.

It is not unusual for people to not get along well with their stepparents. It is the source of many family feuds over estates when adult children of the deceased think a stepparent has received a larger portion of the estate than is fair. This is especially true, if the estate plan has been changed from a previous one to give the stepparent a larger share.

Because this is common, it is perhaps not surprising that two brothers in the U.K. were upset when their father left their stepmother a larger share of the estate than either one of them received. Their father had after all changed his will to give the stepmother more. The brothers took the position that he lacked the legal capacity to do so.

They initiated a legal battle to have their father’s will thrown out and an old one reinstated that would have given them more of the estate.

What is unusual about this case is the amount of money that was at stake.

The will the brothers wanted disregarded only gave the stepmother £25,000 (approximately $30,000) more than under the will they wanted reinstated. The judge in the case was not amused.

After ruling in the stepmother’s favor, the judge ordered the brothers to pay all of the legal costs of the case, which was enough to wipe out everything they inherited.

The Daily Mail reported on this story in “Farmer’s sons lose their ENTIRE £200,000 inheritance from father’s will in doomed legal bid to stop their stepmother getting an extra £25,000.”

Before starting an estate battle, it is important to ask whether doing so is really worth it. Legal fights are not always worth the trouble, even if you do not like your stepparent.

Reference: Daily Mail (March 17, 2017) “Farmer’s sons lose their ENTIRE £200,000 inheritance from father’s will in doomed legal bid to stop their stepmother getting an extra £25,000.”


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