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Farmer disinherits son for changing surname

A retired dairy farmer from Cornwall has disinherited his son for discarding the family surname and has instead left his £230,000 fortune to a young woman he “took a shine to”.

2 May 2012

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Raymond Spry died aged 74 in 2008 having deliberately cut out of his will his only son, on the grounds that he was "not happy with his attitude towards him" during his lifetime. This included the ex-farmer apparently being "incensed" when his mechanic son changed his name to Richard Thomas, according to a report in the Telegraph
 
Spry stated explicitly in his 2003 will that he didn't want Richard Thomas, or his half sister Heather Bolt, to get a penny and instead left everything to Gemma Sweet, the granddaughter of the woman with whom he lived after divorcing Thomas's mother. 
 
Thomas originally challenged the will after his father’s death in 2008 and was awarded £36,000 to cover his debts by Judge Nicholas Wood, who said Spry’s decision to disinherit his son was “unreasonable” and a “hugely disproportionate” over-reaction. However, Thomas, who had originally claimed around £100,00 from the estate, was in danger of losing out when the following year another judge ordered him to pay the legal costs of the case, thought to run into six figures. 
 
The case has now come before the Appeal Court where Lord Justice Laws, Rimer and Patten allowed his appeal, meaning that the bill for legal costs is now likely to fall on Spry’s estate.
 

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Wills, Trusts & Probate