Sisters in £500,000 legal fight over mother’s will

Sisters in £500,000 legal fight over mother’s will

Two sisters are in court arguing over an inheritance of £500,000; one says the other “managed” their mother during Covid lockdowns to remove her from the will.

A week before their mother signed a new will giving Helyn the majority of her £500,000 inheritance, Julie Sinclair claimed that her sister Helyn Sinclair messaged her saying, “You have f****d with my life for too long.”

Julie thinks her mother didn’t understand what she was doing when she modified the will since Helyn was taking care of Betty at her Selsey, West Sussex, house in 2021 while Betty was living there and living with them.

The mother of five is now requesting an order from court Deputy Master Bowles upholding a previous will from 2015 that divided the wealth evenly amongst the sisters.

Although Helyn holds the original 2015 will, the court would not hear the matter without seeing it.

He also expressed his displeasure at not receiving any communication from Helyn, who has not participated in the proceedings, and remarked, “This case has a peculiar feel to it.”

The court was informed that Betty, who had just updated her will on June 18 of that year, passed away on July 22, 2021, at the age of 89.

Helyn had been Betty’s live-in caregiver since the pandemic began in March 2020 and was living with Betty at her £500,000 home in East Street, Selsey, at the time of her death, according to Julie’s attorney Adam Smith-Roberts.

Helyn moved into the deceased’s home starting around March 2020 as a consequence of the worldwide Covid-19 epidemic, he said.

Helyn was the deceased’s sole link to the outside world, and she had complete control over who could see her and talk to her up until her passing.

There is evidence that the deceased’s cognitive function, and especially her memory, declined throughout the lockdown.

During the lockdown, “the relationship between Helyn and the rest of the family grew more strained,” with Helyn limiting contact with the dead and acting erratically more often.

He claimed that given those conditions, changing the will should raise the court’s “suspicions,” particularly in light of a WhatsApp message Helyn made to Julie a week or so before the new will was written.

He said the message said: “While I’m more than glad to take after mom, I am not prepared to do it for you to ultimately gain from it. I am no longer prepared to wear myself out for you to benefit from half the home when she does finally die on.”

“So far, my financial benefit from my mother’s inheritance has been 28.5p per hour for round-the-clock critical care from attendance allowance and many thousands of dollars in savings for you by not having to pay for the care necessary.” You’ve messed with my life for too long, and it’s done now.

According to Mr. Smith-Roberts, the new will’s development was surrounded by dubious circumstances, thus Helyn should be forced to demonstrate that Betty understood what she was signing, was of sound mind, and wasn’t being unduly pressured by her.

During lockdown, he said before the court, “all of Julie’s children observed a considerable drop in the deceased’s cognitive capacities and mental condition.”

He added: “The 2021 will was plainly made by Helyn rather than the dead, who did not have the requisite IT abilities owing to arthritis. The new will was created utilizing an internet platform.”

No one else was there throughout the writing process but the dead and Helyn.

As far as Julie is aware, the 2021 will was different from the 2015 will in that Helyn was named the only executor and the deceased’s entire fortune was left to Helyn.

Importantly, there is no logical justification for the shift from the prior will’s stance in the 2021 will.

“Julie and the dead had never argued, and the deceased was good friends with Julie and all of her kids.” To nearly completely exclude them from her will without justification raises questions.

Additionally, he said that Julie’s children were mistakenly listed in the 2021 will as Betty’s nephews rather than her grandkids, which was “in itself suggestive” and “strongly suggests the dead was unaware of what she was signing.”

He said, “Around the time the 2021 will was being prepared, Helyn had the urge to financially gain from caring for the dead at Julie’s cost.

The note she gave to Julie makes this quite obvious.

The responsibility of proving Helyn’s ability, understanding, and permission at the time of execution has been placed on her since there is considerable uncertainty over the will’s validity.

The evidence shows that, starting in March 2020, Helyn had total control over the deceased’s life.

Helyn is a temperamental person who placed the dead person under emotional stress.

The execution of the 2021 will, which significantly benefited Helyn, and the lack of justification for the change to exclude Julie, he added, “make undue influence the most likely scenario,” informing the judge that Julie is asking for an order contesting the 2021 will and costs to be paid out of her sister’s share of the estate.

But Deputy Master Bowles said, “I’m not going to continue without the original will. To bring the will in, we will need to submit an application.

“There is absolutely no medical proof.” The most strange thing is that I have absolutely no information on the expert evidence or how this would come about. Without making every attempt to bring in the (2015) will, I won’t go forward.

“I need to see that will in front of me,” the defendant should preferably appear before the court.

The original will is in the possession of the defendant, who has not participated in these proceedings, Mr. Smith-Roberts informed him. We have a copy that the defendant sent to us through email in August 2021.

The court, however, insisted on viewing the will and said, “In a situation like this, where the circumstances are genuinely uncommon, I’m not ready to move without being convinced that every attempt has been taken to produce the will.

The defendant must provide the original of the will to the court within 14 days, and I also issue an order for third-party disclosure of medical information.

“I believe these things need at least to be sought to be addressed in a situation as complex and uncommon as this,” the speaker said.

Now, the matter will be brought back before the judge later.

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