Mrs Lorraine Feltham from Fordingbridge, head of a property letting company, has sued her step-grandmother’s lawyer for failing to change the 90 year old’s will in her favour, saying that it has cost her more than £1,000,000.
The Court heard that Mrs Hazel Charlton originally from Leicester, and her company director partner John Fishbein of Barton on Sea, took two trips a year on the QE2 and had travelled the world more than twenty times in their 22 years together. Mrs Charlton had amassed a collection of furs, ball gowns and expensive jewellery over the years and she and Mr Fishbein died within weeks of each other in 2006. Mrs Charlton had no children of her own and in the original will, she had left the bulk of her fortune to a cousin, her former GP and Mr Fishbein.
After Mr Fishbein died Mrs Charlton was said to have had a change of heart and wanted to leave the bulk of her £2.6 million estate to her ‘very kind’ step-granddaughter. This new will was done on-line and left the cousin and former GP with just £50,000 each. Mrs Charlton’s solicitor Peter Ward, from Leicester law firm Freer Bouskell, had been contacted to change Mrs Charlton’s will but had failed to act on the request saying he had ‘concerns about Mrs Charlton’s mental state and capacity to make an informed decision.’
Judge Charles Hollander QC ruled that Mr Ward had been negligent in not acting when Mrs Charlton asked him to change her will. Mrs Feltham won reimbursement of the sums given to the cousin and GP in settlement of their claims and the costs incurred in dealing with them.
Michelle Hayter, Dispute Resolution Partner, who specialises in Disputed Wills says, ”This situation is becoming more and more common, if you are in a similar position and are unsure of your rights it is worth seeking legal advice.”
For a free initial chat, please call 01202 499255 and Michelle or a member of her team will be happy to discuss any questions that you may have.