The ex-girlfriend of a Royal Marine has successfully challenged her late boyfriend’s family in a bitter Will dispute.
This week, a judge found in favour of the ex-girlfriend over the £290,000 Will, after his family had launched continued legal challenges.
Rachel Douglas wanted £60,000 of Sergeant Jacky Manuel’s estate, while the marine’s brother, Trevor, executor of the Will, argued she should receive less as their relationship was casual at best.
Sgt Jacky Manuel, who was killed by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan in 2008, allegedly told his brother that Miss Douglas should receive £10,000 just weeks before his death.
But Miss Douglas proved she lived with the Sgt continuously in Ouston, County Durham, for more than two years before his death, in a relationship as his partner. That meant she could have more of a claim on his estate.
“There was an emotional tie, which, in my judgment, was constant,” ruled the judge. “There was a single residence and a single domestic economy, albeit contributed to in different amounts from different bank accounts.”
The judge ordered Sgt Manuel’s estate to pay her £17,440 - £10,000 plus £7,440 to cover her mortgage for a year – adding that Sgt Manuel’s mother, Pauline, be made the major beneficiary as she had brought up three sons single-handedly in Gateshead.
Sgt Manuel’s case highlights the importance of properly drafted Wills when it comes to dividing your estate. Death can be difficult for any family to deal with, and making sure the proper provisions are in place should the worst happen is the ideal way of easing your family and loved ones through what is undeniably an emotional time.
Consult our expert solicitors today and we’ll do all we can to make sure your Will is drafted properly and professionally.
But if you are already facing a dispute over a Will, our inheritance disputes team can help you unravel the problem.