This is going to be an absolutely fascinating case when it is heard next year. An astronomer has left his £400,000 to his “best mate”, by way of his deathbed will, dictated to his friend from his hospital bed, whilst also suffering from dementia. The beneficiaries of the earlier will, the British Astronomical Association, are now locked in a dispute with the presumed “best mate”, Mr Gibbs, as to who should receive the estate.
The Judgment will no doubt be one to look out for, covering a plethora of common issues we face as practitioners in contentious probate. It also illustrates the perils of homemade wills. Whilst the circumstances were clearly challenging, solicitors can attend hospitals to prepare wills in these situations, and if this had been done then perhaps a dispute would have been avoided. It seems likely that the costs here will be astronomical….
Astronomer leaves £400k to lucky 'best' mate' - but there's just one problem Roy Panther discovered Comet Panther by using a homemade telescope at his home in Northampton back in the 1980s.
Stargazers have found themselves locked in a furious legal dispute over the £400,000 fortune of amateur astronomer Roy Panther who allegedly left his fortune to his 'best mate' in his will. The hook here is that he he never clarified who his best pal actually was. Mr Panther rose to national fame in 1980 when he discovered a comet, dubbed Comet Panther, from his home in Northamptonshire. He found it by performing a 'systematic search' of the skies at night when he stumbled upon the previously undiscovered comet in the constellation of Draco.