Siblings fail to overturn will involving the care of a parrot

Three siblings have failed to overturn their stepmother’s will after she left everything to her biological son.

The son claimed that his mother had changed the will after the siblings’ father died so that he could look after her parrot. 

The case involved 61-year-old Ian McLean and his siblings Sean and Lorraine, and their half-brother, a self-titled “Lord” Brett McLean. 

In the 1960s, their father Reginald left his first wife and three children and eventually married his second wife Maureen. The couple had Brett ten years later.  

They made wills in 2017 that split their estate equally between the four children. 

However, after Reginald died, Maureen made a new will that left everything to Brett.  

When she passed away, Brett was still living in the family home. The property, in St Leonards, East Sussex, was thought to be worth between £300,000 and £400,000. 

The older siblings took legal action against Brett and claimed he was compelled to share the inheritance because that was their father’s wish. 

Brett claimed that his mother had left the family property to him so he could “continue to provide care for her green Amazonian orange-winged parrot”. 

He also explained that his mother wanted to make sure he had his own place to live. His older half-siblings all owned their own homes and would also one day benefit from their mother’s will.  

The court ruled in favour of Brett. 

Judge Robertson commented that while Maureen may have been “morally bound” to share the inheritance between the four children, there was no legal responsibility for her to do so. 

Please contact us for more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of wills and probate.  

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