Family at war after brother claims mother left him house in second will

An ambulance driver is at war with his elder siblings after laying claim to their family home days after their mother’s funeral, a court heard. 

Colin Nutt, 63, said he was the “primary carer” for his mother Lily during her final years, and deserved to inherit the £400,000 house in Chigwell, Essex. 

After her death he presented his older brother Chris, 73, and sister, Vivienne, 71, with a new will which made him the sole benefactor of Lily’s estate. 

Colin claimed his mother, who died aged 88 in 2013, had left the document in a sealed envelope to be opened only after her death. Written in 2010, it overruled a 2005 will splitting her assets equally between her three children.  

Chris and Vivienne have asked the High Court to declare the first will valid. They argued that Lily was too “frail and forgetful” to make a valid will in 2010, and accused Colin of being a “dominating and domineering personality”. They also insisted Colin’s claim that they cared less for their mother was “simply not true”. 

Gavin Hamilton, the barrister for Chris and Vivienne, told the court Colin handed his siblings photocopies of the homemade will, which he said had been given to him in 2010. “He said that Lily had given an envelope to him and told him not to open it until after she died, and that he had not done so,” he said. 

Colin, representing himself in court, said he suspected Lily had left him the house in a new will, as she used to tell him: “The others have got houses and you don’t.” He told the court: “She said that she wanted me to have the house, and I always said to her, ‘Forget about it, don’t do it’.”

Mr Hamilton said Colin left the family fold in 1990 and had “little or no contact” with his mother until 2003. He told the court Chris and Vivienne did their share of looking after their mother, but do not argue that Colin provided care in the latter years of her life. But they denounced his claim that “they did less than him” as “simply not true”. 

Questioning his brother Chris, Colin claimed he and his girlfriend had stepped into the breach after Lily had heart surgery in 2007. 

“After three weeks, you and Viv told me that it was all interfering with your lives too much, and we took over for the next four months,” he said. “I am very proud to have done that.”

Mr Hamilton told the court that Chris and Vivienne say they each took it in turns to care for their mother after her surgery, adding that Colin is “belittling what his brother and sister have done”. He also pointed out that the 2010 will misspells Vivienne’s name, and gives no explanation of a change of heart. 

It also failed to include Lily’s wish that her ashes should be laid to rest beside her late husband. Master Julia Clark reserved her decision on the case and will give her ruling at a later date.

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