Emotions Take Over: Why Advice REALLY Matters In Probate, And NOT Just At Court

Blood really can rush to the head when it comes to a family, whether they are alive or dead. Had the gentleman below taken advice on the implications of his actions, perhaps he would have reconsidered…

A 71-year-old British businessman, Girish Dahyabhai Patel, was sentenced to five and a half years in prison recently for forging his mother’s will in order to inherit a £40 million share of the family’s Malaysian palm oil plantation.

Patel, who is from Highgate, north London, used a fake document to launch a High Court claim for control of Prabhavati Dahyabhai Patel’s estate after she died in 2011. The inheritance included a one-third stake in Aumkar Plantations, which owns 20,000 acres of land planted with palm oil in Malaysia.

Patel claimed that his mother had signed a new will in 2005, which left everything to him. However, the court found that the will was a forgery and that Patel had lied under oath in his attempt to inherit the estate.

Patel committed “a sophisticated and high-value fraud” against his own family. He had “lost his reputation, his status, his ability to carry on business and his wealth and income” as a result of his crime.

Patel’s actions had had a “very serious impact” on his family and “caused immense distress and upset” to his brother and other relatives.

If you have any questions about the Inheritance Act, or would like some robust advice on the implications of the actions you are considering, contact clerks@anvilchambers.co.uk