70-year-old church pastor sues her siblings for £900k in inheritance

70-year-old church pastor sues her siblings for £900k in inheritance

A church minister is embroiled in a £900,000 High Court dispute with her siblings, alleging that they conspired to deprive her of her fair share of their mother’s estate.

Reverend Anne Lettice, 70, has taken her five siblings to court in a bitter £900k inheritance row. Anne, pictured, claims she was the main carer of her late mother, Margaret, and says her £105k inheritance did not make 'reasonable provision' for her to buy a new place to live
Reverend Anne Lettice, age 70, brought her five siblings to court after their mother Margaret Lettice, age 99, passed away in 2019, in order to divide her estate among all of her children and grandchildren.

However, the inheritance division has sparked a bitter family quarrel between siblings, who are now arguing about how much of their mother’s money they will receive.

Rev. Lettice, who lived with her mother in an £875,000 home in north London, received a bequest of approximately £105,000, but claims she is unable to house herself or meet her basic needs.

After almost two decades of caring for her elderly mother after her father, Frederick, passed away in 2001, she is suing her family on the grounds that the will did not provide “fair provision” for her and she should receive more.

In addition, she says that her five siblings have conspired against her to prevent her from receiving further money from the inheritance.But Rev Lettice's family accused her of being 'mostly absent' from Margaret's home and claim she did not provide the 99-year-old with 'round-the-clock care'. Pictured: Brian Lettice, Sylvia Ricks, Linda Lettice and Nina Ricks (Sylvia's daughter) outside the High Court in London

However, her siblings contend she was their mother’s primary carer and claim she is not entitled to a larger share of the property than they are.

70-year-old Reverend Anne Lettice has taken her five siblings to court over a £900,000 inheritance dispute. Anne, left, alleges she was Margaret’s primary caregiver and that her £105k inheritance did not make “appropriate provision” for her to purchase a new residence.

At the centre of the bitter inheritance row is this £875,000 home in Haringey, north London. The property was the home of Margaret and was sold after her death, with the cash being split between Margaret's six children and her grandchildren

However, Rev. Lettice’s family has accused her of being “usually absent” from Margaret’s home and claims she did not offer “round-the-clock care” for the 99-year-old. Outside the High Court in London are Brian Lettice, Sylvia Ricks, Linda Lettice, and Nina Ricks (Sylvia’s daughter).

The High Court of London heard that Rev Lettice is a former mental health nurse who was consecrated as a reverend in the United States and has committed her life to God for more than two decades.Rev Lettice has accused her siblings of 'ganging up' on her and say their claim she didn't care for her late mother was a 'total lie'. Pictured are Brian Lettice, Sylvia Ricks and Linda Lettice

She had been living in the United States when her father Frederick became ill in 2001, and she returned to London, remaining with her mother in Haringey, north London, when her father passed away.

Reverend Lettice informed the court that she had provided ’round-the-clock care’ for her mother, assisting her with food, clothes, and medication, and being available for anything her mother required.

Rev. Lettice added that when Margaret died in 2019 after a fight with colon cancer, she faced eviction from the place she had called home for 17 years.

Her mother’s 2014 will stipulated the sale of the four-bedroom home, with the revenues divided among her six children’s households.

Rev Lettice was to receive roughly £105,000, her brother Brian, 63, and sister Linda Lettice, 61, a retired nurse, were each to receive £149,000, sister Sylvia Ricks was to receive £105,000, and Frederick, 64, and Peter, both of Australia, were to receive £61,000 each.

The grandchildren of Margaret would also receive shares, so that the earnings of the house and a little cash payment would be distributed equally among her six children’s households.

Reverend Lettice filed a claim for a larger share of the inheritance than her siblings in response to the will, igniting a lengthy dispute.

She claims she needs more money than the others to purchase a new residence and cover her expenses.

Brian, her piano tuner brother from Tottenham, cast doubt on Rev Lettice’s claim to have been her mother’s 24-hour caregiver, testifying that she was frequently absent from his mother’s home.

“She was typically absent from the residence from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. each day,” he stated in his testimony.

My mother was frequently concerned that no one knew where she was going or what she was doing.

We are still unsure of what she was doing, but she was not providing care for my mother.

In his testimony, Margaret’s grandson Samuel Lettice, who stands to inherit approximately £43,750, stated that he visited and stayed with his grandmother in 2010 when he traveled from Australia to the United Kingdom for his honeymoon.

He regarded her as witty, gregarious, and intelligent. He told the court that she was always up and ready to converse, while saying he rarely saw his aunt Anne, who was “certainly not caring for” Margaret when he visited.

And Margaret’s son, Frederick Lettice, testified via video link from Australia that Linda, who also lived with her mother for many years, was the ‘primary caregiver’

Representing Rev Lettice’s siblings, nieces, and nephews, attorney Anna Metcalfe argued that Rev Lettice had failed to prove that she required more than the £105,000 bequeathed to her in her mother’s will, and that Margaret had no higher commitment to her than to the other children.

This £875,000 Haringey, north London, mansion is at the center of a contentious succession dispute. Margaret’s home was sold upon her death, and the proceeds were divided among her six children and grandchildren.

Rev. Lettice has accused her siblings of ‘ganging up’ against her, claiming their accusation that she did not care for their late mother is a ‘complete fabrication’ Brian Lettice, Sylvia Ricks, and Linda Lettice are pictured.

She stated that Margaret had not felt herself obligated to Rev. Lettice since she had made it clear in her will that she wanted her out of the house so it could be sold after her death.

She continued, “Her testamentary intentions are essential.” “They were deliberate and unambiguous, and she desired for all of her children to gain equally.”

In addition, she stated that nine members of Margaret’s immediate family had corroborated that her daughter did not provide 24-hour care.

She told the reverend, “According to their claims, not only did you not give around-the-clock care for 17 years, but you hardly provided any care at all.”

Rev. Lettice said that her family’s accusation that she did not care for her mother was a “complete falsehood” and that they had conspired against her to deny her money.

She told the judge, “It is evident that they have hired an attorney against me.”

‘If you examine their statements, you will notice that they all essentially say the same thing.

My siblings and their offspring have consulted together and arrived to essentially the same conclusion.

She stated that her mother had wanted all of her children to have their own homes, but that she had opted to stay with her mother to ‘honor’ and care for her after her father passed away.

She stated, “I opted to remain and care for my mother.”

My siblings had other responsibilities that took precedence, but I was in a position to care for my mother. She could rely on me one hundred percent.’

She stated that she assisted her mother with cooking, laundering, sorting clothing, cleaning, and grocery shopping. She said that if she was ever gone from the house, it was because she avoided Margaret’s visitors.

The reverend acknowledged that the property would need to be sold, but stated that she had filed a claim for’reasonable provision’ from the estate so that she could purchase a’reasonable habitation’ for herself and meet living expenses.

Reverend Lettice did not specify how much she desires, but she estimated that she could find a new home for approximately £160,000, though she would need more to pay other living needs.

She stated that she had no income other than a little state pension, but the attorney for her siblings pointed out that she had not accrued any debts in the three years following her mother’s death.

Last week, a judge, Deputy Master Katherine McQuail, heard Rev Lettice’s petition in London’s High Court, but she delayed issuing her verdict until a later date, leaving the family in limbo.

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