Battle over inheritance

A man is currently involved in a £1.5million court fight after allegedly pressuring his 96-year-old mother into changing her will and cutting her dead daughter’s children out of their inheritance.

Jason Abdelnoor denies that he ‘bullied’ Pamela Abdelnoor into changing her will before she died in 2019 aged 98. She had intended to divide her estate equally between the families of her four children but when the will was changed in 2018, the children of her late daughter, Carolyn Barker, missed out, with their share decreased to £34,000 each when they should have received about £350,000 between them.

Carolyn’s son Elten has challenged the will at the High Court and accuses his 74-year-old uncle of making his grandmother change her mind and that he had exerted an “overwhelming degree of undue influence” over Mrs Abdelnoor.

Dependent on son

He argued that his grandmother depended on her son to approve even trivial transactions such as buying a bird-feeder for her garden.

The court was told Elten’s uncle had been angry that he and his sister Shelley were due to inherit more than his own children under an earlier will. Elten claims that he pushed his views onto this mother when she was ill and weak.

Mr Abdelnoor and his sister Gillian Gibson, 71, said he did pressurise his mother and was only ever a “dutiful and helpful son”.

Original 2012 will

Mrs Abdelnoor had four children – Jason, Gillian, Adam and Carolyn. The latter died in 2010. Mrs Abdelnoor made a will in 2012 where she set out plans to leave her remaining children 20 percent each of her estate, with Carolyn’s share going to Elten and Shelley.

The other 20 percent would be split between all her 11 grandchildren. The new will signed in 2018 awarded the three surviving children one quarter of the estate each, with Elten and Shelley sharing the rest with her other grandchildren.

Barrister Francesca Levett on behalf of Elten said Mr Abdelnoor had been irked by the 2012 will, which he saw as giving an “extra large chunk” to Elten and his sister. He had sent an email to his mother’s solicitor in 2017, branding the will “grossly disproportionate and disharmonious” because it favoured two of her grandchildren.

‘Severely frail’

He later organised a meeting with a solicitor to make the 2018 will when his mother was “severely frail” according to Elten’s barrister and suffering from frequent urine infections.

She added that the court only needed to look at Mrs Abdelnoor’s signature to appreciate how frail she was at the time. She submitted that the evidence supported the contention that Mrs Abdelnoor had not been acting as a free agent at the time.

Barrister James Poole for Jason Abdelnoor said the retired bookkeeper had been consistent about wanting to ensure quality in her will among her 11 grandchildren and though she had been physically frail in her later years, she had remained mentally alert and capable”.

Sacrifices made

The court heard that Elten Barker had moved into a cottage near his grandmother’s home to help care for her in later life. His lawyers claimed that the 2018 will did not reflect the sacrifices he had made to care for his grandmother, while the other grandchildren rarely visited.

Ms Levett said that the effect of the 2018 will meant that Carolyn’s share of her mother’s estate no longer passed to her children. Mrs Abdelnoor’s other grandchildren would have the prospect of inheriting from their parents in time, as well as the money from the estate.

The judge reserved his decision, which will be given later.

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