The son of a celebrated interior designer has lost his multi-million-pound battle against his
mother and sister, following his attempt to claim his father’s entire estate, according to an
article in the Daily Mail recently.
Courtenay Inchbald had claimed his father wanted his sister’s share of the inheritance to
eventually go to his and his family. In one version of his father Michael’s will, the money for
his daughter Amanda was to be held in trust for her, and then for that to pass to Courtenay
and his children when she died.
Michael Inchbald died in 2013. His will left his son and daughter with an equal share of his
estate, apart from some small gifts he’d left others. His son contested the later will, claiming
his sister and their mother Jacqueline Duncan had conspired to cheat him out of his rightful
Judge John Martin QC said he thought Courtenay had “lost all sense of perspective”. The
case had gone on for three years, and Mr Inchbald junior had devoted considerable time to
Michael Inchbald’s final will was signed in 2007. It replaced one that was written two years
earlier, which awarded half of the estate to Courtenay and put the other £8 million into a
trust to be held for Amanda for the duration of her life. The money would then revert to her
brother or his children.
Mr Inchbald began to design for companies in the 1950s, after winning prizes for his
designs. He created headquarters for Plessey and Bank of America, and in 1969, he was
commissioned to work on the first-class saloon on the QE2, The Queen’s Room.
He was employed by hotels, designing the penthouse at Claridge’s, the American Bar at the
Savoy, and the interiors for the Berkeley. He was also consulted about changes to the decor
of Buckingham Palace.
Courtenay’s QC, Richard Wilson, said Michael Inchbald hadn’t understood the change from a
life interest trust to an absolute bequest when he signed the 2007 will. Mr Inchbald was
suffering from dementia at the time and Mr Wilson claimed he didn’t know or approve of the
contents of the new will.
Courtenay also claimed his mother had ‘masterminded’ a scheme to surround his father with
flunkies who imposed their views on his father. Judge Martin said that Courtenay had talked
himself into believing in a scurrilous plot that never happened.
He added that Mr Inchbald possessed strong sense of family loyalty and an eye for detail. In
the end, he left half of his fortune to each of his children, a move that wasn’t unusual or
suspicious. He felt Mr Inchbald was fully aware of what he was doing when he signed the
He simply left half of his worldly wealth to each of his children and there was nothing odd or
suspicious about that, the judge ruled.