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Son’s will forgery claim against elderly mother rejected

The High Court has rejected a man’s claim that his 92-year-old mother forged his late father’s will after he brought her to court.

As reported in the Law Society Gazette, Master Clark “accepted the evidence of the solicitor who drafted the will in 2000 over the ‘circumstantial’ evidence of ‘marginal relevance’ submitted by the disinherited son”.

After Eustace Watts passed away in 2008, the dispute started. Jobyna Watts, his wife of 45 years old, received his whole estate. The following year Carlton Watts reported his mother’s money laundering and fraud activities to the police.

He posted a large notice on his car that read “Jobyna Watts forged her husband’s will and stole his money”.

At trial, Carlton also sought to base his case on circumstantial evidence to the existence of an earlier will made in 1994 (“the 1994 will”) under which, Carlton alleges, he was a one-third beneficiary, together with Mrs Watts and Fraser.

The judge agreed with this argument, but noted that it had only “marginal relevance to the forgery claim”.

Sarah Evans was, the solicitor who took the deceased’s instructions for the 2000 will, and arranged and witnessed its execution, said that she had a “clear recollection of the deceased”.

Ms Evans recalled the deceased’s instructions as being “clear and consistent”. He wanted Mrs Watts, as his surviving spouse, to be the sole beneficiary of his estate and he did not want Carlton to inherit anything if Mrs Watts survived him.

As to the physical production of the will, she said it was produced on “an actual typewriter, a sort of hybrid, it had a screen”.

Despite the fact that the will file was no longer in existence, the Judge ruled that it was still obvious that Evens had met the deceased on two separate occasions. The judge said that “it is conceivable that a solicitor might have no recollection of these occasions, but, in my judgment, inconceivable that she would misremember them with the level of detail that Ms Evans has recalled”.

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