herald

Thursday 14 December 2017

Millionaire sister's €45k will 'felt like lost jackpot'

An 80-year-old man told the High Court that he felt he had lost the winning Lotto ticket after reading his millionaire sister's will to find she had left almost everything to charity.

Former Co Tipperary man and bachelor Joseph Dee, who worked all his life as a factory machinist in Dublin, said he had been stunned and disappointed at receiving only €45,000 of the €3.5m his sister Mary Coffey distributed in a seven-page will.

High Court President Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns refused an application by Dee of North Circular Road, Dublin to condemn his sister's will on the grounds she was not mentally capable, was extremely easily led and had been badly advised.

"I am quite satisfied your sister was of sound mind and knew what she was doing in making the particular arrangements that she did," Judge Kearns said.

Michael Howard, counsel for the executor of the will, told the court Mrs Coffey, a former nurse, and her late farmer husband had built up a substantial farm at Emly, Co Tipperary.

Mr Howard said that, following her husband's death, she had sold the land at the height of the property market boom in 2005.

BEQUESTS

THE COURT HEARD THAT MRS COFFEY HAD MADE DOZENS OF BEQUESTS, RANGING FROM €100 TO €1,000 TO €10,000 AND UP TO €50,000 TO VARIOUS CHARITIES.

Mr Howard said she had left €45,000 each to her brothers Joseph and David, with whom she was living at the time of her death in 2005 at 87.

David, of Barranstown Cross, Emly, was not contesting the will.

Mr Howard said that, after bequests, Mrs Coffey's estate had been left with just under €2.8m which was to be distributed among charities as her executor, a distant cousin, was to decide.

Her solicitor William O'Donovan said Mrs Coffey had drawn up her own will and he had advised her.

She had left only €30,000 to each of her brothers, Joseph and David, and on his advice she had increased these bequests to €45,000 each.

Dr James McMorrow, her GP, said she had never at any time shown symptoms of suffering any mental deficit.

Judge Kearns was satisfied she was of sound mind when she had signed her will in front of three witnesses.

hnews@herald.ie

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