MacNairs + Wilson

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Family Members Lose Inheritance Disputes

A woman has lost her legal bid in the French courts to overturn the will of her late husband, reports the Telegraph.

Controversial Marriage

The marriage of Sandrine Devillard and Marcel Amphoux had been the source of great controversy in his home village. He was a wealthy elderly man, who lived a hermit-like existence in an Alpine village, while she was a real estate agent from Paris who was 25-years younger than him.

Mr Amphoux owned a number of shepherd’s huts near to a popular ski resort, and the site was thought to be worth many millions of pounds. The couple had apparently met when she approached him about buying some of his land.

After the wedding, the couple spent much time apart, with Ms Devillard running her businesses in Paris and Mr Amphoux continuing his basic existence in the Alps. A year after their wedding, Mr Amphoux was killed in a road traffic accident.

Wife Disinherited

After his death, Mr Amphoux’s will was discovered written on the back of an envelope. It had apparently been written shortly before his death. Under the terms of the will, the shepherds’ huts were left to their tenants, and the remainder of the estate was left to a cousin. The will specified that his wife was to receive nothing from his estate.

Ms Devillard went to court in an attempt to have the will declared invalid. She claimed that it hadn’t been written by her husband, and that the estate’s beneficiaries were guilty of attempted extortion and forgery, the Telegraph reports.

However, the court ruled against her and the will was allowed to stand.

Challenge to Father’s Will Unsuccessful

In a second inheritance dispute recently reported in the media, a man has also been unsuccessful in his attempt to contest his father’s will.

When Iain Hayward’s father Jack died after suffering a heart attack, he left a will that he had signed in 2013, one year before his death, which shared his estate out equally between his daughter and five granddaughters. To his son, Iain, he left a harp, his harp music business and several other personal items.

Iain Hayward challenged this will in court, claiming that his father had lacked the mental capacity to make the 2013 will, the West Sussex County Times reports. He asked that the court declare an earlier document, signed in 2008, to be the valid will.

Under the terms of the 2008 will, Iain would have received not only his father’s harp business but also 25% of the estate.

However, the judge ruled against him and allowed the 2013 will to stand. He said that there was no evidence that Jack Hayward had lacked the mental capacity to make a new will. The judge stated that he believed Mr Hayward senior was capable of understanding and approving the contents of the new will at the time that he signed it.

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