Court declares son unworthy heir after manipulating mother into leaving him everything

The son’s siblings claimed he had deceived his parents, who they said had intended for their wealth to be divided equally between the children

(File Photo)
(File Photo)

The First Hall of the Civil Court has declared a man to be an unworthy heir after he deceived his mother into leaving him everything in a secret will.

Siblings Josephine Camilleri, Mary Mifsud, Emanuel Camilleri, Victoria Saliba and Paul Camilleri, children of the deceased Antonia Camilleri filed a lawsuit against their brother Joseph Camilleri. They claimed that their mother, who had died in 2014, had made a secret will in June 2011.

The siblings, none of whom lived with the parents in their twilight years, had enjoyed a good relationship until the death of their parents. They claimed that their brother Joseph had deceived his parents and insisted that the elderly couple had wanted their wealth to be divided equally between the children.

The mother would suffer from bouts of depression and had been partially paralysed by a stroke. Spending 30 years in old peoples homes, the woman eventually developed acute dementia and was largely unaware of her surroundings.

The woman was interdicted in 2011, having made an unica charta will with her husband, stipulating that the inheritance was to be divided equally amongst the children. Joseph Camilleri had unsuccessfully challenged the interdiction order, after which he proceeded to do all he could to obtain the inheritance dishonestly.

The other five siblings said that they had taken care of their mother whilst Joseph was working at sea, while the latter argued that he had spent long years caring for the mother together with his wife Yvonne and therefore his mother was right to give him preference.

The court established that until the interdiction order could be brought into effect, Camilleri had managed to seize all of his parents’ property under his control.

The notary testified, telling the court that there was nothing to suggest that Antonia Camilleri had not been mentally capable of making a will and had not been informed that there were interdiction proceedings in court at the time. He had mentioned to the woman the possibility of conflict amongst her heirs.

Of the vulnerability of the woman, the court said it had no doubt, not least because of certification by several psychiatrists but also because of her erratic testimony.

The woman’s physical weakness, her age and vulnerability were such that they created an impediment to her expressing her will and intention or to resist suggestions, requests or threats to change her mind, said the court.

The court ruled that Camilleri’s secret will was affected by a vice of consent, caused by the pressure placed on the woman, that rendered it null.

Judge Mark Chetcuti declared Joseph Camilleri to be unworthy and incapable of receiving the inheritance, ordering him to pay the costs of the case.

Lawyer Kenneth Grima appeared for the defendant. Lawyer Edward Gatt appeared for the five heirs.


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