Mother 'cut daughter from will over affair with separated man'
Woman in court battle with brother for right to remain living in family home
Published 15/12/2010 | 05:00
A MOTHER changed her will because she disapproved of her daughter's relationship with a separated man, the High Court heard yesterday.
The daughter has brought proceedings against her brother, who was left the family home in the will, asking the court to declare she is entitled to live there for the rest of her life.
Unemployed catering assistant Maura Kelly (56) has brought the action against her only sibling, Christopher (55), over the house on Ratoath Road, Cabra West, Dublin, where she still lives.
She says her claim is based on promises made by her late mother, also Maura, and on promises made by Christopher after their mother's death that she would always be allowed to live in the house.
The court heard Mr Kelly wanted to sell it in 2007 when it was valued at €520,000. Today, it is worth around €200,000.
Among a number of declarations Ms Kelly is seeking are that Mr Kelly, a married father of four from Talbot Court, Castleknock, Dublin, holds the property on foot of a resulting/ constructive trust and/or on trust for her for the remainder of her life.
She also wants a declaration that by virtue of the monies expended by her on the house, she has a legal and beneficial interest in the property.
She is also claiming for her work and care in looking after their mother from 1998 to 2005 when she died. Her mother, a Moore Street trader, suffered from ill-health during these years and was eventually diagnosed with Alzheimer's, Ms Kelly told the court.
Mr Kelly denies her claims and says he never made any promise to let her live there for the rest of her life.
In her claim, Ms Kelly says she lived in the house with the exception of a short period in 1991/92 when she moved out and lived with a separated man.
During the course of this relationship, her mother told her that as he was a separated man, he could never live in the (Kelly) family home, but she (Maura) "could always" live there.
Ms Kelly believes that before this relationship, her mother had made an earlier will under which she believed she was the sole beneficiary of the family home.
Ms Kelly believes the will was altered by her mother in 1992 as a result of her mother's disapproval of her relationship.
Shortly after their mother's death, Ms Kelly claims, her brother told her that as far as he was concerned the house is "yours for the rest of your life, you need never worry, I am never going to put you out of the house". Ms Kelly says her brother is well provided for and well positioned in life while she is on social welfare benefit of €185 per week.
When told, under cross-examination, that Mr Kelly would be denying he gave her any assurances about continuing to live on in the house, Ms Kelly said that he did.
She also denied that when she knew he had been left the house that she said to him "you will be paying the tax in relation to it".
The case continues before Mr Justice Roderick Murphy.