Partner, Matthew Brandis and supported by solicitor, Imogen Pike, from B P Collins’ specialist contentious probate team, advised Mrs Jobyna Watts in case that has attracted much media attention involving an allegedly forged will – the case was brought by her son, Carlton Watts, regarding the estate of her late husband, Eustace Watts.
Eustace executed a will in 2000 and died in 2008. Carlton brought a claim in the High Court alleging that his father’s signature on the 2000 will was a forgery and wished the Court to pronounce in favour of an allegedly missing earlier 1994 will.
The trial of the preliminary issue, being whether the 2000 will was a forgery, began in the High Court last year, with live evidence heard from Carlton, both parties’ forensic handwriting experts, and a professional attesting witness – the solicitor who took the instructions, drafted, and witnessed the 2000 will – who recounted her clear recollections of the same in open court.
Mrs Watts subsequently provided her testimony in March 2023, denying that she had fabricated her husband’s will.
The judge decided completely in Mrs Watts’ favour and declared the 2000 Will was valid, and that there had been no fraud.
The case highlights the importance placed on the evidence of an attesting witness and, in addition, the extent to which an expert’s opinion withstands scrutiny in cross examination.
Matthew Brandis, said of the case:
“Although the matter has not yet fully concluded our client is glad that the Court found fully in her favour so far, and has vindicated her position.
“We have supported Mrs Watts for the past 18 months and we welcome the clarity and common sense of this judgment.”
A link to the case can be found here: Watts v Watts  EWHC 679 (Ch) (03 April 2023) (bailii.org)