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Sisters fail to overturn man’s will leaving estate to his cleaner

Two sisters have failed to overturn a man’s will in which he overlooked them and left all his estate to his cleaner.

The man had first made a will in 1997 and left his estate to the sisters.

In 2006, he started to employ a cleaner at his home. They formed a friendship and the cleaner gave evidence that at one point he spoke of marriage, although he eventually drew back from such a commitment.

In 2009, he made a second will in which he left everything to the cleaner.

Following his death, the sisters challenged the will saying the cleaner had exerted undue influence on the man when he made the second will.

They alleged that she was prepared to do anything to inherit his wealth and they disputed her claims that he had spoken of marriage.

They also contested her claim that she had known him since 2006. They alleged that he had only known her for a short time.

He was unlikely to leave his estate to her and so she must have exerted undue influence on him at a time when he lacked testamentary capacity - that is, when he lacked the mental capacity to fully understand what he was doing.

The court, however, rejected the sisters’ claims. It found that there was no evidence of victimisation or coercion, or of any mental frailty.

The judge said there were other explanations for the 2009 will. The sisters visited the man less frequently in the last two years of his life and he may not have felt obliged to provide for them.

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