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Court upholds a claim where an inheritance is contested.

A son has been ordered to pay his mother’s partner of 20 years more than half of his £725,000 inheritance, even though he claimed he was just a ‘lodger’ in her home.

Sarah Campbell died unexpectedly when she was flying to the Canary Islands in 2015 at the age of 63. Her son, James Campbell, 35, claimed his mother had told him that all of her estate would go to him when she died.

Mrs Campbell’s partner, Andrew Banfield, who is disabled, went to the High court to claim a share of her estate. He told the court that he disagreed with James Campbell by saying he had been a husband to Mrs Campbell for over 10 years – and also claimed he got engaged to her in 1999, which is six years after the start of their relationship together.

However, Mr Campbell denied the engagement took place and claimed that his mother’s feelings towards Mr Banfield had worsened over a period of time which meant that she considered him ‘no more than a lodger’.

But Judge Paul Teverson disagreed with Mr Campbell’s claim, he accepted that Mr Bansfield’s disability had put a strain on the couple and had made the relationship ‘more burdensome’ for Mrs Campbell in the later years.

He further added “I do not think it right or fair to characterise Mr Banfield as being no more than a lodger. The relationship continued to contain an element of mutual support, with the deceased making it clear to her close friends that she did not want to be on her own.”

Judge Teverson ordered for Mrs Campbell’s house to be sold of which half of the proceeds would go towards a home for Mr Banfield but would be given back to Mr Campbell on his death.

Furthermore, the son was ordered to pay £50,000 to cover Mr Banfield’s court costs from his own share of the estate. Toni Ryder-McMullin /Todays wills and probate.

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