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Woman cut out of will for “living in sin”

14 February 2012

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A woman has lost her share of her grandmother’s £220,000 estate after the High Court agreed that her inclusion in the will was a “mistake”.

Catherine Barrett was in line to inherit £27,500 from Irish-born Bridget Murray, who died aged 87 in July 2010. However, the High Court heard that the devout Catholic would never have intended for her granddaughter to benefit from her will as she had a “pious abhorrence” for people who “lived in sin”, according to a report in the Daily Mail.

Barrett had lived with her boyfriend for 18 months before getting married to him.

The case was brought to the High Court by Barrett’s two uncles and aunt, the three children of Bridget Murray. A fourth child, Monica, Barrett’s mother, had died in 2007.

Catherine Barrett and her brother, David Robertson, were both named in Murray’s will as joint beneficiaries of what would have been their mother’s share. Murray had drawn up the will in the months before she died.

However, lawyers for Murray’s children argued that she would have never included Barrett in the will because she had cohabited before getting married. They also claimed a clause in the will that bequeathed Barrett a share had been a “mistake”.

Judge Robert Miles QC ruled that Bridget Murray had not intended her grandchildren to benefit from the will and that Barrett and Robertson be removed as beneficiaries.

Commenting on the judgment Catherine Barrett said: “I don’t want to speculate on the reason. The cohabitation issue could have been the reason – but it seems really harsh and she was not a harsh person. She was lovely.

“We spoke about it and she was vaguely disapproving of it but like grandparents are with lots of things.

“We were on good terms and I think it was more about financially looking at the whole family. It doesn’t make any sense that both me and my brother were cut out of the will.”

The estate will now be divided between Murray’s three surviving children.

For more on the case see http://www.privateclientadviser.co.uk/feature/wills/communication-breakdown

Categorised in:

Wills, Trusts & Probate