Brothers win inheritance case against sister

A High Court judge has found in favour of two brothers who challenged payments made out of their late mother's estate to their sister.

Susan Burbidge, aged 47, was cleared of any wrongdoing but was nonetheless ordered to pay a total of £700,000 back into her mother's estate. Mrs Burbidge controlled the finances of her mother Phyllis Hart in the months before her death in 2008 at the age of 86. Judge Sir William Blackburne said her "relationship of influence" over her mother cast doubt on whether she was acting on her own free will, and he was also concerned as to whether Ms Hart understood the contents of various letters she signed.

Two years prior to her death Mrs Hart transferred part of the business premises she had inherited from her millionaire husband, to her daughter, and proceeds of the sale of the family home were also transferred to Mrs Burbidge.

Mrs Burbidge said she did not like how her brothers treated their mother, and Kenneth Hart admitted he had not visited his mother in at least a year. The court ordered that the gifts to Mrs Burbidge be undone, and having already paid £410,000 into court before the case, she was ordered to pay the balance of at least £290,000.

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