Page last updated at 13:13 GMT, Friday, 5 March 2010

Brothers win 600,000 will battle

Two brothers will inherit their father's Norfolk farm following a High Court dispute that has left the family riven by "suspicion and distrust".

Richard and John Key accused their two sisters of plying their father, George, with drink and pills before he signed a will leaving them £300,000 each.

Mr Justice Briggs rejected the claim but ruled Mr Key, then 89, did not have the legal capacity to sign in 2006.

The farmer's memory was failing and his wife had died a week earlier, he said.

It means the sisters will receive £15,000 each under a will made in 2001.

Their brothers, Richard and John Key, will keep Hall Farm in Mundham, along with the lion's share of their father's estate.

'Underlying wounds'

The will dispute, said the judge, had transformed once "close and caring" brothers and sisters into a family riven by "suspicion, recrimination and distrust".

It had reached the extent that an enormously costly three-day High Court trial was necessary to settle their differences, he added.

Mr Justice Briggs said he "entertained no expectation" that his ruling "will heal the underlying wounds".

He said he could understand Mary Boykin's "heartfelt sense of unfairness" on reading the 2001 will which left almost everything to her brothers.

She and her sister said the 2006 will represented a much fairer division of assets between the four children.

During the case, Richard Key said his father had wanted him and his brother to have the farm because they had worked in the family business from the age of 15.

Branding his sisters "disgusting", he claimed they had forced their father to sign the will, "orchestrating" a "pre-meditated plan" to "procure" his signature.

Rejecting those accusations, the judge said Mr Key had "allowed his suspicions about his sisters' conduct to seriously interfere with his objectivity".

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Sisters 'made father sign will'
22 Feb 10 |  Norfolk

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