We review the first two episodes, of Channel Five’s new documentary ‘Inheritance Wars’. The focus on inheritance dispute over the past few months on the channel, further emphasises the increase in disputes of these kind.
On the 24th September the second episode of Channel Five’s new Documentary ‘Inheritance Wars: Who Gets the Money?’. Growing in popularity, this new series tells the stories of families suffering from brutal inheritance disputes and as a result have been forced to face court. Each episode captures the unique experiences of those trapped within these intricate legal battles and delves deeper into the lives of those involved.
The first episode, released on the 17th of September, details the infamous Marley v Rawlings inheritance dispute that lasted many years, even reaching the Supreme Court. The documentary interviewed the brothers, getting insight to their own thoughts and feelings from both the time of the case and still today. The documentary explained how after the death of their parents, the brothers, who expected to receive an equal share of the estate – discovered that their parents had left everything to their adopted son.
Challenging the will
The documentary describes how it became clear that their parents had ‘mistakenly’ signed each other’s Wills and it was on these grounds that the brothers decided to challenge the validity of their Wills. And after two court hearings that ruling in their favour, the brother’s felt confident in their chances of gaining the inheritance they felt they deserved.
However, what followed was a brutal legal battle that lasted many years and was only resolved when it made it to the Supreme Court who ruled the signing error as simply that – a mistake. Therefore, rejecting the claims made by the two brothers and allowing the adopted brother to receive the inheritance intended by their parents which brought the first episode of this series to a dramatic conclusion.
Step families at war
What came next this Sunday was the even more turbulent case of Tory Politician and model Diana Coad, who following the death of her late husband Peter, became engaged in a brutal legal battle with her stepchildren. This dispute arose when it became clear that Peter died having left his new Will, which specified that the matrimonial home was to be left to Diana, with no signature – proving it invalid.
This therefore meant that his previous Will, splitting his whole estate 50/50 with Diana and his stepchildren stood as the valid Will upon his death. It was this Will that outlined his estate, which mostly came from his £900,000 home, was to be shared equally between Diana and his daughters – meaning Diana was to move out. At this discovery, Diana explains in the documentary interviews how she felt that this previous version of Peter’s Will hadn’t provide her with enough financial provision and so she made a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and dependents) Act 1975.
However, the Court could never resolve Diana’s Claim as she failed to file key documents on time which meant that she was to cover the entirety of the costly legal fees of the inheritance dispute itself. This meant that she had around £84,000 to pay and as a result could no longer afford to stay in her home – she was left with less than she would’ve originally had if she hadn’t made the claim.
Her interviews clearly convey her distress at the situation she was currently facing and the drastic impact losing both her husband and family home has had on her. Ending the episode by warning her audience against making the same mistakes she did and stressing the importance of ensuring final Wills prove valid.