Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Wealthy ex-pilot who battled two 'poorer' sisters over their mother's £1.5m estate wins equal right in court

A wealthy former British Airways pilot who went to war with his two poorer sisters over their 'generous and amazing' mother's £1.5million will has today won an equal share of the fortune.

Retired captain Chris Burgess, 65, had initially been left only £300,000 of his parents' cash in both their wills after being told that his sisters needed it more.

But after his lawyer and judge father Jim died in October 2012, his mother Freda changed her will in January 2013 to split everything equally between him and daughters Jennifer Penny, 69, and Catherine Kennard, 55.

The move sparked a bitter court battle after his sisters claimed their mother - aged 90 in February 2016 - was too 'frail and vulnerable' to change the will and that they needed the cash more than their brother.

But High Court Judge Catherine Newman QC ruled all three should be given an equal share because their mother's desire was to see her 'children benefited equally'.

She told the court: 'It was her [Mrs Burgess] own wish to leave her property equally to her three children.'

During a trial in February, the judge heard that Jim Burgess believed his son was better off than his daughters.

He had forged a career as a pilot, during which he met his Brazilian wife, Cleide, when she worked as BA cabin crew.

Jim and Freda, from New Milton, Hampshire, initially had 'mirror wills', leaving their fortunes to each other and to their children equally if both died.