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A 77-year-old man who was left out of his father’s £2.4m will because he was an “unwanted war baby” has won his battle for a share of the estate.
Colin Johnston felt that his parents, Sidney and Elsie, had always preferred his younger brother, Gary.
That sense of exclusion was underlined when his father bought manorial titles for himself, his wife and Gary, as well as Gary’s two children. This made them Lord and Ladies, but Colin remained plain Mr Johnston, The Daily Telegraph reports.
Lady Elsie died in 2013, as did Lord Gary three years later. Lord Sidney himself passed away in March 2017 and left his entire estate to Gary’s daughter, Lady Natalie Wackett (39).
Mr Johnston then sued his niece, who was also the executor of the estate, saying the will failed to make “reasonable provision” for him
Mr Johnston pointed out he had worked for his father for decades, until they had a major disagreement in 1991. Despite this altercation, he told the court, Lord Sidney had promised him he would still inherit something on his death.
David Giles, Mr Johnston’s barrister, said his client’s birth in 1942, while his father was in the RAF and before his parents were married, had “poisoned their attitude towards him”.
Mr Giles added this had contributed to the favouritism shown towards Gary and his daughter, Natalie, who now runs the family’s car and property business.
Mr Johnson had initially claimed £870,000, but adjusted that figure to the £125,000 which judge Edwin Johnson QC agreed to award him.
“I very much regret that it seems that what Sidney actually intended for his property and what he gave Colin to understand, were two very different things,” Judge Johnson said.
He added: “I continue to find it remarkable, and somewhat inexplicable, that a man should treat his son in this way, and that a man should favour one son over the other as Sidney favoured Gary over Colin. This kind of favouritism has been causing strife within families since time immemorial.”
The judge said Mr Johnston was in a “precarious” financial state, warning that he and his wife were in danger of being made homeless.