Norfolk family's legacy battle

It may look like a modest home in a quiet Norfolk village.But this bungalow - known as Red Roofs - has become the foundation of a bitter feud that has torn a family apart and ended in a High Court dispute.

It may look like a modest home in a quiet Norfolk village.

But this bungalow - known as Red Roofs - has become the foundation of a bitter feud that has torn a family apart and ended in a High Court dispute.

Father-of-three Clifford Turner lived there in the rural tranquillity of Shipdham, near Dereham, until his death in 2003.

Now, four years after his death, his sons are arguing over the contents of his will after one gained the entire house and the other son and their sister shared the remaining assets.

Keith Turner, who split the rest of his father's estate with his sister, Beverley Cooper, claims the 77-year-old was too mentally frail to know what he was doing when leaving Red Roofs to their brother Neil, and has taken the matter to the High Court.

He claims his father had suffered a series of strokes in the months before signing the will in 1998 and alleges Neil “unduly influenced” the pensioner into leaving him the property.

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He believes that a previous will which was signed in September 1997 and split everything equally between the siblings should be the pensioner's last true testament.

Neil has strongly denied the allegations, claiming that although his father was unwell in 1998, he knew exactly what he was doing.

Judge Sonia Proudman heard that Clifford Turner wanted Red Roofs to be kept in the family as one property, and had promised Neil and his wife it would be their home for as long as they wanted when they began living there in 1996.

Barrister Toby Boutle, for Neil, said the widower was worried Keith would “waste” any inheritance he received on a “get rich quick scheme.”

Attacking the allegations made by Keith as “baseless,” “entirely misconceived” and “barely arguable,” Mr Boutle said that Mr Turner's 1998 will was “entirely rational.”

He added that a solicitor who drew up the 1998 will described Clifford Turner, who relied on a wheelchair, as “bright as a button,” and his GP of seven years had insisted he was always “mentally alert.”

The barrister also said that Keith had told nursing staff in 1999 - 18 months after the will was made - that his father had nothing wrong with him and had insisted “if any one says he is mental, I'm going to go mad.”

Judge Proudman was also told that Neil and his father swapped houses in 1996, and the division of the estate reflected the time and money Neil had spent on renovating Red Roofs and a promise that it would always be his family home.

The case, expected to last several days, continues today

A vulnerable widower was “unduly influenced” into handing over the bulk of his estate to his son, sparking a bitter family dispute, London's High Court has heard.