Daughter WINS ruling against three brothers who accused her of ‘coercing’ their mother into cutting them out of £1m fortune

15

A devoted daughter who cared for her elderly mother until her death has won an eight-year £1 million inheritance battle against her three brothers in a landmark legal ruling that lawyers said will better protect others from ‘anyone coming out of the woodwork and expecting a quick buck’.

Rita Rea, 61, said she feared she would become ‘homeless and bankrupt’ after her brothers claimed she had pressured her mother Anna into writing a new will that left her £1 million London home only to her.

The High Court heard the brothers had been disinherited because they had ‘abandoned’ their mother and had barely helped with her care, whereas Rita had moved into her mother’s home to care for her.

How The Legal Battle Started

The brothers, Remo, Nino and David, first took legal action after their mother Anna died in 2016 at the age of 85. 

Court Ruling

But the Court of Appeal finally ruled on Friday that Rita had not put her mother under undue influence to sign her whole property over to her.

The judges ruled that such cases were normally ‘inherently improbable’, which Ms Rea’s lawyers said will protect people from accusations of wrongdoing by disinherited relatives in future.

Ms Rea said her brothers had put her through ‘years of hell’ over the ‘outrageous’ claims.

As it is

Ms Rea, a former tennis coach, owes her lawyers more than £280,000 in legal fees. 

But her brothers are likely to be ordered to pay the bill.

Her solicitor, Paul Britton, said the ruling was ‘a good day for those who are there for their loved ones at the end of life – and a bad day for anyone coming out of the woodwork and expecting a quick buck’. 

READ ALSO: Victoria Beckham has BROKEN her foot after falling over in the gym

Since 2016

The case began in 2016 when the Rea brothers claimed their sister had put their mother under pressure to write the new will a year before her death.

Their arguments were rejected and Rita won. 

The Brothers Won a Retrial Though

The brothers successfully appealed on a technicality and won a retrial in July 2023, with a High Court judge ruling that Rita had ‘coerced’ their mother into cutting her sons out of the will.

This decision had meant that the estate would be split four ways, as directed by the 1986 will. 

Rita – whose own costs were estimated at £150,000 even before the retrial – almost saw her share completely extinguished by the bills of the long-running case. 

In making the decision in 2023, Judge David Hodge KC said the evidence suggested Rita had exercised ‘undue influence’ over her frail mother such that she was ‘overborne’.

‘First, there is Anna’s frailty and vulnerability,’ he said in his judgment. ‘Wheelchair-bound, hard of hearing, and requiring constant care and attention, Anna’s quality of life was limited.

‘She seemed to spend much of her life colouring in children’s books. This is to be contrasted with what I find to be Rita’s argumentative and forceful personality, and her forceful physical presence.’

She Appealed, Then Won

After being given 21 days to launch a challenge to the decision with the Court of Appeal, it was Miss Rea’s turn to appeal, leading to last week’s landmark ruling by Lord Justice Newey, Lord Justice Moylan and Lord Justice Arnold unanimously in her favour.

They ruled that the previous judge had been wrong to suspect Rita of pressuring her mother just because she had a ‘forceful personality’ and a ‘physical presence’. 

They also said that the fact that the mother was dependent on her daughter did not make the change of the will suspicious.

Previous articleSinger Jay Aston won Eurovision, but tells ME & MY MONEY: ‘I never made the big bucks in Bucks Fizz’
Next articleBoy, eight, is killed when he is HIT by lorry as police launch investigation into crash on London street
Ola Alabi
Ola Moses is a certified writer, He writes technically and creatively. He is the CEO of WORDSWORTH, a house where writing is made easier for all. He is a content creator at EsB TV, since 2019. He is a young man that showcases professionalism in all that he does, he was announced as Child and Green Foundation Person of the Year 2018, one of his many lists of honours.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here