Woman committed to prison for contempt in family dispute over will
A woman has been committed to prison following a dispute with her brother over their late father’s estate.
The court heard that neither of the siblings had been named as executor of their father’s will but the sister had taken the role without authority to do so.
The brother applied to have the sister removed as executor and replaced with a solicitor. An order to appoint a solicitor was granted and the sister was told to hand over all relevant documents including books, vouchers and correspondence.
She was also ordered declare any of her father’s property that was in her possession and pay her brother’s costs.
The sister wasn’t at the hearing but a copy of the order - with a penal notice indicating the consequences of failure to comply - was served personally.
She didn’t comply with the order and her brother issued a committal notice against her.
Despite the sister’s continued absence from hearings, the court was satisfied that the service had been effective and that she had deliberately failed to act. She was in contempt of court for non-compliance.
She was given a six-month custodial sentence, which would be suspended if she complied within 14 days.
Please contact Nigel Gibson Birch and Benedict Smith for more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of wills and probate.