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JAW JAW NOT LAW LAW

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Families are being urged to talk sooner, rather than fight later, following last week's high profile case of disinherited university lecturer Christine Gill, who won back her family's £2.3million farm when the court declared her mother's will invalid. Said Danny Carter, Partner of Chelmsford based solicitors Gepp & Sons: "The outcome on this case is really the exception, not the rule. Generally it's very expensive to contest a will; the occasions on which it's successful are few, and sadly it often signifies the end of relations between family members. People need to talk and perhaps more importantly, they should regularly review their will. " The judge gave the verdict after hearing that Christine Gill was given repeated assurances that she would inherit the family farm in North Yorkshire and had shown years of devoted support and care for her ageing parents. The High Court in Leeds ruled that her reclusive mother had been bullied into making the will, leaving everything to the RSPCA, by her over-bearing husband before his death. The judge was satisfied that Mrs Gill had "an avowed dislike" of the RSPCA and wanted her daughter to inherit the farm, but that she had been unduly influenced by her husband. Danny Carter added: "We really need to get inheritance out of the closet. There's often a rather British reserve about discussing these things, but it would be better all round if families were more open – rather than dealing with the aftermath when it turns out that Aunt Bessie left everything to the dogs home." "It's also very important to review your will, rather than thinking it's a one-off final document. Things change, new children are born and perhaps old grudges settled. In this case, if the mother had thought to review the will after her husband died, things could have been resolved quite simply." If you would like to talk to one of specialists to discuss the above in greater detail, simply call 01245 228117 and ask to speak to one of our experts. Web site content note: This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues. - ends - Notes to editors: • For additional information or comment please contact: Danny Carter of Gepp & Sons.

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