In a recent case, a lonely AOP changed his Will two months before his death and left his £500,000 estate to a builder who had cleaned his gutters free of charge.
Ronald Butcher was described as a “private and quiet” man. His body lay undiscovered for for two months. He was aged 73 and found in his Enfield home in March 2013.
Mr Butcher made a Will in 2011 leaving everything to his cousin, Joyce Gilkerson, and two family friends, Evelyn Hutchins & Peter Rogers, but when he drafted a new Will in favour of Daniel Sharp his old Will was revoked leaving the three with nothing.
Despite accepting that Mr Butcher had mental capacity Gilkerson, Hutchins & Rogers went to court and asked the judge to revoke the new Will in favour of the earlier one leaving all the money to them.
They argued that Mr Sharp lied about his friendship with Mr Butcher and that it was not his “true last wish” to leave everything to the builder.
Mr Sharp told the court his friendship with Mr Butcher grew after he helped him out with a leaking gutter six years before his death for free and called in on the pensioner whenever he was in Enfield.
Judge Lesley Anderson QC described Mr Sharp as “a truthful and straight forward witness” and ruled he could keep the inheritance.
The judge added that initial claims that the signature on the Will was forged turned out to be incorrect and any suspicions about Mr Sharp’s honesty were not backed by evidence.