A judge has ruled that a farmer’s wife ‘took advantage’ of her husband’s Alzheimer’s in a bid to disinherit their son of £10 million.
Pamela Moore accused her son, Stephen, of violent harassment in her fight to stop him taking over the family farm from his father, Roger. However, the Judge in the case described Mrs Moore’s accusations of bad behaviour against her son as ‘so trivial as to be of no effect’.
The judge accepted that, before he suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, Stephen’s father had repeatedly promised him that the family business would belong to him one day. Although Roger changed his Will in 2012 to disinherit Stephen, the Judge was satisfied that he had ‘played little part in these events’.
The Judge commented: "Roger, in his right mind, would never have contemplated litigating against his own son. Matters between father and son were nowhere near the kind of total collapse described by Pamela and other members of the family. Roger would have been appalled at the family's private affairs being exposed to public scrutiny and at the prospect of the farm being split up."
The Judge ordered that the farming partnership between the father and son should be dissolved because of Roger’s poor health and his share of the farm should be transferred to Stephen. It was concluded that this is what Roger would have always wanted.
Tom Curran, Chief Executive at Kings Court Trust said: “Cases like this highlight how family relationships can deteriorate when estates are distributed. The sad fact is that we often see family members involved in bitter disputes as they battle to claim what they believe is rightfully theirs. Our advice is to always ensure that Wills are professionally written and drafted in such a way as to leave no doubt regarding the wishes of the testator. Following these steps should reduce the potential for misunderstanding or legal challenges from other family members.”