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Carer stripped of inheritance!

View profile for Leah Woodnott
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A High Court Judge has ruled a deathbed will invalid and has stripped a man’s carer from her inheritance.  
 
Donna Henderson has been accused of “guiding the hand” of the retired banker and millionaire, Marcel Chu, who she cared for, to leave herself and her children with over 40% of his estate. 
 
Marcel was in hospital with significant ailments at the time of making his will and, just two days later, passed away. The terms of this will were notably different to his previous wills which left his entire estate between his immediate family and to a close friend and did not leave anything to Donna. 
 
Donna admitted that she instigated the drawing up of the will and even guided Marcel’s hand as he signed it.  Donna claims she only “assisted” him and that Marcel signed the document himself. 
 
Marcel’s family have taken the matter to the High Court to challenge the will, claiming that “Donna took control of his life and excluded his siblings” during the year prior to his passing.
 
Concerns were soon raised as to authenticity of Marcel’s signature on the will and a handwriting expert’s report was obtained which confirmed that on the balance of probabilities, the signature on the will was not Marcel’s signature. 
 
Not only this, but Marcel suffered from Morvan’s syndrome, a rare auto-immune condition, “which caused memory loss and confusion”. The Judge stated that given Marcel’s medical condition, he lacked sufficient mental capacity to make a will. 
 
This case is a clear warning to those who may try and forge a person’s will. Donna has not only been stripped of any potential inheritance, she has incurred £85,000 in legal costs which she will have to pay herself! 
 
This case highlights again the issue of financial abuse of the elderly and unfortunately for Marcel’s loved ones, a lot of time and effort has gone into taking the case to the High Court, which could have been avoided. 
 
If you have a concern about a will being invalid or if there are reasons for you to suspect that a  will has not been properly executed, then please do not hesitate to telephone 01206 217609 or alternatively email me at leah.woodnott@birkettlong.co.uk

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