A woman has won the right to inherit her father’s estate after a “DIY will” supposedly signed on his deathbed was ruled invalid.
Terri Tibbles had been the sole beneficiary of a will her father William wrote a year before he died.
In a letter of wishes attached to that will, Mr Tibbles said that Terri’s twin, Kelly, and his other daughters, Susan and Cindy, had been a “disappointment” to him.
He added that his son, Paul, did not need to inherit any of his estate because he was financially secure and therefore it should go to Terri.
Despite this, three days after Mr Tibbles died, a will written on a sheet of paper “torn from a notebook” emerged in which he left his estate to the siblings. Terri was to receive nothing.
She took legal action, submitting that the “DIY will” could have been signed by anybody and was not valid. She added that she had been close to her father and there had been no reason for him to change his mind and create a new will that disinherited her.
She told the High Court: “I don’t accept that this document was ever signed by my dad. It would have been totally uncharacteristic for him to prepare a DIY will considering his long history of previous dealings with solicitors.”
The court ruled in her favour and held that the second “deathbed will” was not valid.
Judge Matthew Marsh said there was no evidence about who wrote the will and whether it was written at Mr Tibbles’ dictation, nor “who was present when that occurred and what his state of mind was at the time”.
He added: “There’s no real explanation for his change of mind and no evidence about him signing it.”
The judgment means that Terri Tibbles, who works as a beautician, will inherit all her father’s estate.
Please contact Benedict Smith if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of challenging a will.
Woman written out of father’s will wins right to inherit his estate
Tibbles v Tibbles and Others
Judge Matthew Marsh 2020