Three brothers who were cut out of their mother’s £1million will are suing their sister, claiming she “lied” to make sure the inheritance came to her.
Anna Rea left her Tooting home to her only daughter, Rita Rea, 56, in a will drawn up eight months before her death aged 86 in 2016. Her three sons were left empty-handed.
Mrs Rea had cancelled a will from 1986 which split the estate equally between the four siblings, and also left behind a damning declaration that her sons had not cared for her in her later years.
The brothers, Remo, Nino and David Rea, are now suing their sister, claiming she “pressurised” their mother into changing the will.
“She was controlling our mother for her own benefit,” David Rea, 53, claimed at the High Court. “Rita told my mother that we abandoned her but we did not abandon her — she lied to my mother.”
Rita argues she provided round-the-clock care for her mother after she suffered a heart attack in 2009, moving back into the family home.
In the declaration that accompanied the will, Italian-born Mrs Rea wrote: “My sons do not help with my care and there have been numerous calls for help from me but they are not engaging with any help or assistance.
“Hence should any of my sons challenge my estate I wish my executors to defend any such claim, as they are not dependent on me and I do not wish for them to share in my estate save what I have stated in this will.”
David Rea, a motorbike race manager, insisted he had helped when possible between busy touring schedules and he and his brothers had helped to set up a care rota with their sister.
Remo Rea, 59, accepted his sister had taken on most of the care duties in their mother’s final two years, but insisted the brothers “were also there constantly looking after our mother”.
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John Ward-Prowse, representing Ms Rea, said their mother was a woman of “strong will” who had made her own decision on the inheritance, adding that a solicitor and doctor who saw her in 2016 believe she was acting independently.
Rita Rea denied influencing her mother’s decisions, telling the court: “I could not take advantage of her, she was a very strong lady and always assertive.”
Judge Jonathan Arkush has reserved his decision in the case and will give a ruling at a later date.