Businessman cuts secret child from Will and leaves all to Mistress
16 June 2016 by Andrea Godfrey
Ken Jordan from Frimley in Surrey died in August 2012 at the age of 75. His wealth of £2 million was accumulated through Central Linemarkings Ltd which was a road painting business that he owned.
He was originally married to Vivienne and they had two children. He also had a third child called Ruth who was born before his marriage to Vivienne. His wife found out that he was having an affair with her cousin Bernice and they separated in 2008. However before she found out about it he had purchased a house for the two children that he had with his wife. He left the family home and moved into a care home as he was diagnosed with cancer. He never divorced Vivienne.
Following from their separation he cut his wife and their two children from his earlier Will and in 2010 made a new Will wherein he granted 3 legacies of £100,000 each to his two sisters and his secret child Ruth. He then left the remainder of his estate to Bernice. However in 2012 he changed his Will and cut out the legacies so that everything went to his mistress Bernice instead. He disinherited all 3 of his children. He died a few months later on his 75th birthday.
Ruth challenged this 2012 Will and claimed she was entitled to £100,000. She said he was not in his right mind and was confused in the care home when he changed his Will in 2012 and had no reason to disinherit her.
Ruth’s solicitors argued that there were real doubts as to his mental capacity at the time and ‘Those would have been dispelled if he had contemporaneous assessment from a doctor.’.
The High Court, however rejected this explaining that there was no sign Ken was “insane” or “deluded”. His brother-in-law was actually his solicitor and had taken instructions on the Will. He told the court that Ken “kept his cards close to his chest”. He said that Ken had never mentioned Ruth to him but he did know of her existence. He had never mentioned gifting her anything.
At the High Court, the Judge ruled against Ruth by saying there was a lot of evidence of Ken’s “firm intention” to leave his estate to his mistress. He said Ken did not need to be of a “perfectly balanced mind”. He also said his motives for disinheriting his love child were irrelevant.
Because there was no evidence of “a psychiatric condition amounting to a disorder of the mind, no evidence of insane delusion or anything of that kind.” his Will was valid and Ruth’s claim failed.
Ruth was also ordered to pay Bernice’s costs but the Judge ruled that this would be from the moment that she should have known that there was no reasonable ground to contest the will. The Court considered that this was the day Ruth received the witness and supporting evidence.
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