'Extravagant' daughters of late banking chief sue stepmother over £7m estate

Jack Hardy
·3-min read
Juliet Miles (pictured) and her sister Lauretta Shearer say they are due 'maintenance' from the estate of Tony Shearer
Juliet Miles (pictured) and her sister Lauretta Shearer say they are due 'maintenance' from the estate of Tony Shearer

The “extravagant” daughters of a late banking chief are suing their stepmother for millions after he wrote them out of his will.

Tony Shearer, who was the chief executive of the merchant bank Singer & Friedlander, died in 2017 at the age of 68, leaving behind an estate worth around £7 million.

His adult daughters, Juliet Miles and Lauretta Shearer, say they are due “maintenance” from the fortune to replace the “generous financial provision” they received when he was alive.

However, Mr Shearer left his estate in the hands of their stepmother, Pamela Shearer, who claims the sisters are due nothing and are “interested in their dad only for his money”, the High Court was told.

On Friday, Barbara Rich, for the stepmother, said Mr Shearer had made it clear in letters and emails that he disapproved of his daughter’s lifestyle and “demands for money”.

He had wanted them to be financially independent and was “disappointed” when his daughters failed to successfully complete their degree courses, the court heard.

Ms Rich read an extract of a letter from Mr Shearer, written after he had given each daughter £185,000 to put towards a home, which said: "Once I started working aged 19, I never expected any money from my father or mother...I think that you have already received almost everything that you can expect.

"From now on, you are on your own financially. I would not approve of it any other way. You can expect the odd present - probably a lot smaller than you might think appropriate - and my love, company, advice, support etc."

Lauretta Shearer pictured outside the High Court - Champion News
Lauretta Shearer pictured outside the High Court - Champion News

Another letter from Mr Shearer, describing his daughters’ schooldays, said: "We had alcohol, clubbing, boyfriends, mostly ghastly ones, and lies, lies, lies".

The banking chief, who was also the finance governor of Rugby School, had been married to Pamela for around 10 years at the time of his death.

He separated from the mother to his two daughters, Jenny, in 2005, after 34 years of marriage, the court heard.

The sisters are suing Pamela for "reasonable provision" from the estate, claiming their father "changed" when he married Pamela and unfairly left them without financial support.

Mr Shearer’s will, dated February 2015, left an estate worth £2,184,976 to Pamela, but Jordan Holland, for the daughters, told the judge that, in reality, she had been left with much more.

Non-estate property and a valuable collection of possessions, including vintage wine and family heirlooms, meant his fortune climbed to around £7 million, Mr Holland claimed.

Tony Shearer died in 2017 - Marina Imperi
Tony Shearer died in 2017 - Marina Imperi

Both the daughters are recently divorced with children and Mr Holland told the Chancellor of the High Court, Sir Julian Flaux, that Juliet, 40, who is not working, is in a "desperate" financial situation and wants a lump sum of £915,991 from her dad's estate to buy a house.

Lauretta, 38, who works for auction house Sotheby's, wants £350,154 to secure her own housing.

Mr Holland said: "The deceased continued to provide a high standard of living for Juliet and Lauretta into their adulthood and after they left university.

"This included regular luxury holidays with him and Jennifer, or him alone, to spend quality time together, membership of the Hurlingham Club, housing at the family home into their 20s and thereafter the discharge of rent on their flats, together with a regular maintenance allowance and other ad hoc sums.”

Mr Holland said Mr Shearer's previously close relationship with his daughters "changed" after he married Pamela, adding that "Juliet and Lauretta struggled with the change in their father and could only conclude that Pamela was to blame for this change".

Pamela, 68, is defending the claim and regards her stepdaughters as having "chosen to live beyond their means", the court heard.

The hearing continues.