Estranged wife and girlfriend both forged estate agent’s Will to claim estate

  • Posted

Posted 05/11/2010

A court has heard that both the estranged wife and the girlfriend of an estate agent committed forgery in a bid to claim his estate.

Chris John died suddenly at 47 with no Will in place and shortly afterwards, it was found that he had never legally divorced his wife Helen John. This meant she still had a legal claim to his fortune.

However, a few days later, his long-term girlfriend Gillian Clemo claimed that she had found a Will which named Mr John’s sisters as executors and herself as a key beneficiary.

In a further twist, Mrs John then committed forgery herself by creating an addition to the Will to protect her daughter’s inheritance.

She later realised that the signature on the ‘Will’ did not appear to be her late husband’s and alerted the authorities, whereupon both Mrs John and Ms Clemo were arrested.

The two women are now at the centre of fraud charges in court.

Earlier this month, 87 per cent of respondents to an poll said they intend to leave their assets to family members in their Wills.

Simon Crooks, who heads the Wealth Management team at Ashtons Legal, adds: “If Mr John had had the benefit of a crystal ball, he would almost certainly have handled his affairs differently, ensuring that he made a new Will once he and his wife had parted company.

“Many people put off making a Will because they think time is on their side. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. Resolving the difficulties caused for those who are left behind if the unexpected does happen and there is no Will is usually far more costly than making a Will with the help of a solicitor in the first place. We would always advise anyone with a partner and/or children to make a Will; and anyone who is divorcing should review their Will as a priority.”


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