Hairdresser, Glen Hume, who gave up his salon to look after his frail mother has successfully fought off his older brother’s bid for a slice of her £400,000 estate.
The Royal Courts of Justice ruled that his brother was undeserving and rejected his claims of ‘undue influence’.
Glen’s brother, John claimed that Glen had pressured his mother Patricia into leaving her fortune to him. For his claim, instead of being awarded a share of his mother’s estate, Glen’s brother was ordered to pay £47,000 towards his legal costs.
Prior to her death in 2008, Mrs Hume, put her £400,000 home in her and her son Glen’s name. She also wrote a Will, making Glen her sole heir. He later inherited everything she owned when she died in 2013.
Glen and his mother had a shared passion for hairdressing, which he later gave up along with his salon to care for her. They were particularly close and had both given lectures on the art of wig making at Tottenham Further Education College.
The court heard that John only discovered he would get nothing following his mothers death, which left him reeling by her decision.
Prior to her death Mrs Hume had clearly set out her feelings in a letter, in which she wrote: “My son John has little to do with me. I don’t see him often enough and I cant rely on him if I need help. I don’t feel that John deserves to receive money from my estate.”
“I wish to reward Glen for the way he has helped me during my lifetime”.
Mrs Hume also left out her other son, Robert, because she considered him ‘economically independent’.
John claimed that the family home had become almost like a prison for his mother in her final years. The house at Cedar Green had been the family home for around 40 years and John insisted to the court that his mother would have wanted him to have an equal share in it.
John told the court that his mother had been ‘obsessed and paranoid about going into a care home’. He further went on to say that when Glen moved in he moved her upstairs, which meant the house became ‘almost like a prison for her, she never went out of the house’.
John claimed that his brother had exploited his mother’s fear of care and unduly influenced her into leaving him everything.
But the judge said there was ‘absolutely no evidence’ to support his claim that Glen had exploited her fear of being put in a nursing home.
The judge ruled that Mrs Hume was a strong-minded pensioner who could do what she liked with her money and was fully entitled to leave everything she had to Glen. She was a woman who ‘knew her own mind’.
In her ruling she highlighted the fact that Mrs Hume and Glen had a ‘particularly close’ relationship because he had spent long periods with her during his childhood, while taking time off school due to ill health.
It came to light that John and Glen had barely spoken to each other after ‘falling out’ in 1990.
Glen told the judge his mother had made a ‘rational’ decision that he should move in and care for her in her declining years.
‘He said he had made a sacrifice by leaving his hairdressing business in order to move into the family home and care for his mother,’ said the judge.
The Judge said that Mrs Hume’s ‘knew what she wanted’ which was to stay in her own home with Glen to look after her until the end.
He provided the support she needed and the judge concluded: ‘I hope the whole family understands that her last years could have been very different if she hadn’t entered these arrangements’.
In scenarios such as this it is fundamentally important to ensure that your affairs and estate are in order. It is a difficult time for families and following a death it can cause significant strains on the family members. The testator may not have divided their estate how others might expect. However, it is entirely their choice what they do with their assets following death. With this in mind it is important that proper records are taken of the wishes and set out to ensure that the Will and any instructions are complied with and prevent cases such as this.
An up to date Will and thoroughly planned out wishes provides you with security that it is clear, and should prevent circumstances as in this case.
This is all the more reason to contact a solicitor to have a Will written up. Our team of experts are able to take you through the process to guarantee you the service is tailored specifically to your needs and advise on all suitable areas.
Dated: 08/03/2018 by Samantha Kennedy