Wednesday, August 20, 2008
The extent to which unhappy heirs and beneficiaries take out their dissatisfaction on each other is reaching amazing proportions in the United Kingdom as reported in Inheritance disputes: where there's a will there's a war, Telegraph.co.uk, Aug. 20, 2008.
Here is an example from the article:
Donning night-vision goggles, facepaint and camouflage gear, Jonathon Griffin set out late one night in 2002 to attack his older brother David's farm at Sturminster Newton, in the wilds of Dorset. His target?
The milking parlour, where he ran riot, damaging machinery. By dawn, seven tractors had also been destroyed - their tyres slashed, fuel pipes cut and radiators spiked.
Griffin, 42, has now been found guilty of causing more than £7,000 worth of damage in that, and another attack four years later, and given a suspended sentence of 15 months. But what could have caused such a bizarre fallout between the brothers?
The reason, Bournemouth Crown Court heard, was that when their father Frank died in 1994, Jonathon did not inherit any share of family-owned Skinners Farm. Instead, it was halved between Frank's widow, Florence, and David.
The article also reports that 75% of British citizens do not have a will and 24% believe that inheritance issues will cause trouble among their family members.
Special thanks to Joel Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.