The Supreme Court this month has heard the ongoing dispute between three brothers after their parents, Alfred and Maureen Rawlings mistakenly signed each others Wills. The Court has been asked to settle an argument between the couple’s two biological sons and their adopted son over the validity of the Wills.
Terry Marley who was taken in by the Rawlings family as a teenager was left the entirety of the couples Estate following the death of Mr Rawlings in 2006. Although he was not related or formerly adopted, he was “treated as their son” and lived with them for more than 30 years. The relationship between Mr Marley and the Rawlings’ two biological sons failed following the deaths of Mr & Mrs Rawlings and by the subsequent discovery that the Wills executed with solicitors in 1999 had been signed and witnessed incorrectly.
Mr Marley was also left the Rawlings £400,000.00 home in Kent, leaving £70,000 in cash. Mr Marley initially offered to split the £70,000.00 legacy, but the two biological sons have argued that the Will is null and void and have had the assets frozen. Mr Marley has lost two previous cases at first instance and in the Court of Appeal last year, where it was held that although it was clear that Mr & Mrs Rawlings intended to leave their Estate to Mr Marley; their Wills were invalid because the Deceased person named in the Will had not signed his or her name. Mr Marley has however won permission to have his case heard by the Supreme Court.
Mr Marley’s lawyers are currently arguing that there could be no dispute over what Mr Rawlings, as survivor to his wife by 3 years, had intended and that the law did allow for Wills to be amended or rectified to grant the couples last wishes. The biological sons however argue that their parents did not produce Wills which are recognised in law and they therefore died intestate, meaning that the inheritance would fall to be split between the two biological sons only. This case continues to be heard.
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