Graphic of a house next to millions of pounds

Legal battle over mother’s estate sees siblings return to court for fourth time

A sister and three bothers are in a legal battle over dead mother’s whole estate and are now returning to court for the fourth time, as reported by The Times.

Since their mother left all of her estate to her daughter, Rita in 2016, brothers David, Nino and Remo Rea have been in a disagreement with her and are now asking a High Court to invalidate her most recent will, drafted in 2015 – which inherits a family home in south London that could be worth £1 million.

The sons have argued that the previous will from 1986 – which split her estate equally between all four children – should be the valid will.

The sons have also accused their sister of being “aggressive and bullying” towards their mother – who they claimed “lacked testamentary capacity” when she drafted the second will.

However, the sister has said that she was not involved in the drafting of the second will and that her mother was aware of what she was doing.

The High Court has already heard the case, and in 2019 a judge decided in the sister’s favour. That decision was ultimately overturned by two appeals, and a new trial was mandated last year.

Judge David Hodge KC will preside over a week-long trial in London during the fourth state of the legal battle.

The Court of Appeal judge Lord Justice Lewison cautioned the siblings that their legal battle carried the risk of squandering their inheritance through legal costs in 2021 which he ordered that a retrial be held. Legal expenses for the sister are thought to have already cost her £150,000.

Lewison said:

“The outcome is a tragedy for the whole family. The tangible benefits deriving from the relatively modest estate will have been seriously depleted by the costs of the original trial and the appeal. A further trial may well exhaust them completely.”

The judge in the latest hearing is expected to deliver a ruling this month.

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