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Grandkids Sue After Their Grandpa Only Left Them $64 Each From His $640K Net Worth Because They ‘Didn’t Visit Enough’

Photo: RomanR / Shutterstock
gavel on top of pile of $100 bills

Family dynamics can be tricky, especially when a falling out has occurred. Things can get really messy when a family member passes away and it’s time to dole out inheritances.

That’s exactly what happened to one British family.

One grandfather in the U.K. only left his grandchildren the equivalent of $64 each, but they felt they should have gotten more.

Frederick “Fred” Ward Sr., a former cable joiner and soldier from London, split his $640,000 estate among family members in his will in an unconventional way, according to The Sun

His original plan had been to split it evenly between his three children. Unfortunately, one of his kids, Fred Jr., predeceased him. It would make sense, then, that his share of the inheritance would go to his children. However, Ward Sr. had other ideas. 

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He chose to split his estate almost evenly between his two surviving children, leaving out $64 each for Fred Jr.’s five kids.

Ward’s reason for not leaving more money to his grandchildren was their lack of visits to him in his old age. The family reportedly had a falling out after Fred Jr.’s death. 

According to The Sun, “They had not visited him in the hospital because they were not informed he was there, due to how often he was admitted and also ‘because contact between the parties had stopped in any event,’ he said.”

According to the outlet, “The five sisters had made only ‘very occasional short visits’ to see their grandad, while he was on close terms with his son Terry and Susan was his full-time carer.”

The grandchildren were furious and decided to take legal action.

The sisters could not wrap their heads around what happened at the hands of their well-off grandfather. The Sun reported, “After learning they had been all but disinherited, the five … sued. The quintet claimed they should get their late dad’s one-third share of their grandfather’s money.”

   

   

The grandchildren attempted to argue that their aunt and uncle had coerced their grandfather into changing his will as the grounds for their lawsuit.

Unfortunately for them, a judge did not agree. Instead, High Court judge Master James Brightwell said, “It is most likely that given the changed circumstances following Fred Jr.’s death and the limited contact with the claimants after then that Fred became disappointed with the claimants.”

The grandchildren’s aunt and uncle were cleared of any wrongdoing.

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Changing a will is a common practice.

Legal Zoom stated that changing one’s will is normal as life itself changes. For example, “Should any of your beneficiaries pass away, the will should be revised.” This is clearly what happened after the death of Fred Jr. 

If you want to make a change to your will, the best practice is typically to write up a new one entirely. If you do this, it’s important to revoke the old will that you wish to no longer have in effect. 

“To revoke a will,” Legal Zoom advised, “you include a written statement in your new will that you revoke all previous wills and codicils previously made by you. Copies of the old will should be destroyed once the new will is in effect so that they can never be mistaken for a current will.”

   

   

A codicil is “an amendment to your old will.”

Despite his grandchildren’s assertions, everything Ward Sr. did was perfectly legal. Whether or not it was ethical is another question.

However, if his grandchildren truly did not make any effort to visit him and were effectively cut off from him in his final years, it’s understandable that he would not want to leave much money to them.

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Mary-Faith Martinez is a writer for YourTango who covers entertainment, news and human interest topics.