Sister sues ‘sicknote’ brother after mother left him entire £500,000 fortune

Carol Scott and John Jones - Sister sues 'sicknote' brother after mother left him entire £500,000 fortune
Carol Scott is suing her brother, John Jones, over their late mother's will - Champion News

A sister is suing her brother she dubbed a “sicknote” after their mother left him her £500,000 fortune, a court heard.

Carol Scott, 77, left home at 19, building a career and family, but her brother John Jones, 75, lived with their mother Muriel Jones his whole life until her death in April 2017.

Muriel had lived close to all her children in Surrey until 2012 when she uprooted and moved to rural Wiltshire with Mr Jones and his wife Bronwen.

She subsequently drew up a new will, leaving everything to Mr Jones, a retired builder, and cutting the rest of the family out completely.

Now Ms Scott, backed by her other brother Peter, is suing Mr Jones as beneficiary and executor of their mother’s will.

She claims her brother, whom she called “a sicknote who always had something wrong with him”, had isolated their mother and used a “drip drip” of influence over the years which resulted in him inheriting her entire estate.

Ms Scott also claims her mother did not properly understand the contents of the will she signed.

‘They took her independence away’

Lawyers for Mr Jones say he and his wife cared for Muriel round the clock in her final years and that her last will reflected the fact that he was the only sibling who didn’t own a property of his own.

Judge Simon Monty KC, at Central London County Court, heard that Muriel lived with her husband Ronald in Ripley, Surrey, close to Carol and Peter, until 2012.

Mr Jones and his wife had shared his parents’ home, the judge heard, with her moving in, rather than him moving out when they got married.

In the aftermath of Ronald’s death, it was decided that Muriel should sell her home, with Ms Scott believing she was planning to get a bungalow nearby.

Instead, two weeks before her house was sold, Muriel announced to her daughter that she was moving around 100 miles away to an “isolated” house down a farm track near Trowbridge, Wiltshire, with Mr Jones and his wife.

Ms Scott told the judge that she was shocked and “upset” by the news of the move, which she put down to her brother’s “influence” over their increasingly “frail” mother.

“When she moved down to Wiltshire she was so remote, it was down a dirt track facing a field,” she said. “It was down a long, narrow track. There was no way my mother could get out independently.

“They took her independence away. She was quite a sociable person. She was dependent on them, because she couldn’t get anywhere by herself. You couldn’t take a wheelchair down that long drive because of the potholes.”

‘She looked after them’

She also criticised the lifestyle her mother had had with Mr Jones in Wiltshire where she lived in a granny annexe next to the main house.

“She didn’t have any heating when we went down. She was sat in a blanket with no fire on,” she said. “She was in bed every day until the afternoon, because the fire wasn’t lit until [then]. She used to say it was dirty and not very nice.”

Mr Jones’ barrister Oliver Ingham told Ms Scott: “Your mother was living with my client for decades. They cared for her round the clock from 2009.”

Ms Scott replied: “For the last couple of years, yes. But they were living with her before that. She looked after them.

“John wasn’t very independent. She used to make his porridge on a morning and he’d come home from work on a lunchtime and she’d make him a sandwich. Most of the time, she looked after herself. She was quite capable.

“John’s always been like a sicknote. He’s always had something wrong with him. This is why mum felt she needed to protect him. John has never been independent.”

Ms Scott wants to uphold a 2010 will, which gives Mr Jones a lifetime right to live in his mother’s home, but then leaves it equally between Ms Scott, another sibling Carl Jones who is not part of the court claim, and Bronwen.

Peter did not receive anything under either will, having received a gift of money from his parents during their lifetimes to set up a hairdressing business.

The case continues.