Grandfather’s will favouring children over grandchildren upheld by court

A High Court judge has ruled in favour of a grandfather’s decision to leave the bulk of his £500,000 estate to his children rather than his grandchildren, amidst a family dispute.

The late Frederick Ward Snr, who passed away in 2020, allocated nearly all of his assets, including a flat valued at £450,000, to his offspring Terry Ward and Susan Wiltshire, leaving only £50 to each of his five granddaughters from his deceased son, Fred Jr.

Ward, a 91-year-old former soldier, expressed disappointment over the lack of visits from his late son’s grandchildren, particularly during his hospitalisations for a lung condition. His decision was contested by the granddaughters, who argued they deserved a portion equivalent to their late father’s share.

However, High Court Master James Brightwell found the 2018 will “entirely rational,” highlighting the minimal contact between Ward and the grandchildren in his final years.
The granddaughters’ claims of the will being “invalid” and allegations of undue influence exerted by their uncle and aunt were dismissed by Master Brightwell, who found insufficient evidence to support these accusations.

The judge acknowledged Ward’s earlier intentions to divide his estate among his grandchildren but noted the relationship dynamics had shifted following Fred Jr’s death, leading to Ward’s decision.

The judge emphasised the rationality of Ward’s choice to distribute his estate between his surviving children, dismissing any claims of unfair influence or incapacity at the time of the will’s creation.

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