A beautician who was left nothing in her father’s £300,000 ‘DIY will’ while her ‘disappointing’ identical twin sister and other siblings shared the lot has won a court fight to pocket the money.
Terri Tibbles, 40, had been close to her car dealer father William Tibbles, from Tilbury, Essex, expecting to inherit his entire estate when he died, aged 75, in February 2018, a court heard.
In a letter of wishes attached to his March 2017 will, he said Terri’s twin Kelly and his other daughters Susan and Cindy had been a ‘disappointment’ to him, while his son Paul was already financially secure.
But just three days after his death, a second will was handed to his solicitors – written on a piece of paper ‘torn from a notebook’ – leaving everything to Kelly, Susan, Cindy and Paul – and disinheriting Terri completely.
Terri insisted that the ‘DIY will’ could have been signed by anybody, while there was no reason for her dad to have so completely changed his mind about cutting out her siblings.
Handing victory to Terri at the High Court, Judge Matthew Marsh ruled the will was not valid and gave her the right to all her father’s cash.
During the trial, the court heard car dealer Mr Tibbles, from Tilbury, Essex, had five children, Terri (left) and Paul (right), and their sisters Susan, Cindy and Kelly (also right), who is Terri’s identical twin and works in fashion
Terri Tibbles, who fought a court battle over the £300,000 will of her father William
During the trial, the court heard car dealer Mr Tibbles had five children, Terri and Paul, and their sisters Susan, Cindy and Kelly, who is Terri’s identical twin and works in fashion.
He was described as a ‘colourful character’ with a habit of leaving large amounts of cash around the house, sometimes stashed in a cornflakes packet, the judge was told.
William Tibbles, whose death in February 2018 sparked a family war over his will
In a letter attached to his first will, dated March 2017, he explained that ‘his children other than Terri and Paul had been a source of disappointment to him’ and, while he loved Paul, he did not need the money as much as Terri.
In the second will dated days before he died, Paul was named as his father’s sole executor and declared that Mr Tibbles ‘wished his estate to be shared equally between my son and my three daughters: Susan, Cindy and Kelly’.
Paul Tibbles, who lives in Ireland where he is manager at a logistics company, claimed his dad validly signed and executed his final will on February 6, 2018 – the day before he went into hospital for the last time and five days before he passed away.
But suing her brother as executor of the will, model and beautician Terri, who runs the Bella Mai beauty training school in Grays, Essex, dismissed it as a ‘DIY will.’
‘I don’t accept this document constituted a valid will,’ she told the judge.
‘I don’t accept that this document was ever signed by my dad. It would have been totally uncharacteristic for him to prepare a DIY will considering his long history of previous dealings with solicitors.’
Kelly Tibbles, who was left with nothing from her father William Tibbles’ will after a ruling at the High Court
‘The document could just as well have been written and signed by anybody.’
But Paul Tibbles insisted his sisters Susan, Kelly and Cindy had cared for their father and tended his daily needs during his last months, and claimed his dad had been determined to change his will before he died.
He said the second will was valid and cancelled out the earlier one, but missed a deadline for filing documents for the case and so was unable to call evidence at the trial.
Giving judgment, Judge Marsh said of the February 2018 will: ‘It’s handwritten and not in Mr Tibbles’ hand writing. It’s written on a sheet of paper which appears to have been torn from a notebook.’
The house in Dunlop Road, Tilbury, which William Tibbles left in his will
The opinion of a handwriting expert who said there was ‘moderate to strong evidence to show that Mr Tibbles was not responsible for signing the 2018 will’ was also ‘powerful evidence against Paul’s case.’
‘It’s plain that there is insufficient evidence to show due execution of the 2018 will,’ he said.
‘There’s no evidence placed before me about who wrote the will and whether it was written at Mr Tibbles’ dictation, who was present when that occurred and what his state of mind was at the time.
‘There’s no real explanation for his change of mind and no evidence about him signing it.
‘All the evidence and the background circumstances point heavily against the 2018 will being a valid document.’
Paul’s counter-claim for the 2018 will was dismissed by the judge, who ruled in favour of Terri Tibbles and the earlier will, meaning she now walks away with everything.
Kelly, Cindy and Susan were not parties to the case, but would have each inherited a share of their father’s wealth if the judge had ruled in favour of the 2018 will.
He made his ruling on the case at the High Court last year, but the will has only now been formally admitted to probate, allowing Terri, of Grays, Essex, to inherit her father’s estate.
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