Juliet Miles, 40, and Lauretta Shearer, 38, were cut off from their father Tony Shearer’s fortune when he died in 2017, and have taken their case to court without success.
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Two daughters of a big banker who called their father ‘the checkbook’ have lost a legal battle with their stepmother after being cut off from her Â£ 7million fortune when she died.
“Gifted financier” Tony Shearer, former boss of investment bank Singer and Friedlander and governor of finance at Rugby School, died aged 68 in October 2017 from a brain tumor.
After her death, almost all of her fortune was left in the hands of their stepmother Pamela Shearer, 68, with nothing in her will for her daughters Juliet Miles, 40, and Lauretta Shearer, 38.
The sisters, who put the figure at around Â£ 7million, have launched a fight in the High Court against their stepmother for ‘maintenance’ of their father’s multi-million pound estate to replace the ‘provision. generous financial “that they expected from him during his lifetime.
But Ms Shearer, a marketing executive who married Mr Shearer in 2007, insisted the girls didn’t owe anything and told Judge Sir Julian Flaux that they were “entitled” and “cared for.” their father only for his money “.
In evidence, she stated that Mr. Shearer cut them off because he was “upset” by their “demands for money”.
She told the judge, “I’m going to quote King Lear here – ‘sharper than a serpent’s tooth’ is an ungrateful child – and that’s how my husband felt.”
Sir Julian handed the victory to Ms Shearer on Friday, leaving the girls empty-handed and slamming the evidence given on their behalf as having been “permeated and influenced by a sense of entitlement”.
The sisters sued their mother-in-law for “reasonable disposition” of the estate, claiming that after leaving their mother in 2006 and meeting her, he left them behind after taking care of them financially all their time. life.
Although her will left an estate worth Â£ 2,184,976 to Pamela, the sisters said when other non-real estate, including heirlooms and expensive wine, was taken into account, it remained to their mother-in-law almost Â£ 7million and so there was a lot to share.
Juliet claimed Â£ 915,991 from her father’s estate.
Her sister, who earns Â£ 57,000 a year working for the Sotheby’s auction house and lives in West London, wanted Â£ 350,154, both claiming they intended to use the money for housing.
They claimed their father had “changed” when he married Mrs Shearer, with a breakup so deep that he refused to accompany Lauretta down the aisle to his wedding after learning his new wife was not. invited.
Lauretta, in her testimony, said: âMy parents always believed that if you tried and worked hard they would help.
âI was working as hard as I could. Dad encouraged me to believe that I could always count on him financially.
“He always said if you had any difficulty in terms of pay he would match it. All he wanted was for us to work hard.”
Blaming her father’s relationship with his stepmother for the tensions between him and his daughters, Lauretta told the judge her father had “changed”.
âOnce dad met Pam it was almost impossible to see him alone,â she said. “Support was abruptly cut off.”
But dismissing the girls’ claim that their father was unreasonable or influenced by his second wife, the judge said the girls “pursued a widespread and unattractive attack on Pamela.”
âThe applicants’ case was that Tony’s conduct after his marriage to Pamela was unreasonable,â he said.
“I rejected the idea that his conduct was dictated or unduly influenced by Pamela. He was clearly a man who knew his own mind and acted of his own free will.”
Pamela, testifying, told the judge it was Juliette and Lauretta’s “repeated demands for money” that brought down their father before he made his will, leaving everything to him.
âThe parents deserve a little respect. These two girls had a luxurious lifestyle,â she said.
On this point, the judge said: âPamela’s testimony was that Tony said he didn’t always like seeing the plaintiffs because he knew the meeting would end with a demand for money, which he found it unpleasant.
“I am convinced that he said that and that there was an element of truth in it.
“He told her they were temperamental and out of control (as a teenager).
“He also told her that (when they were younger) both claimants called him ‘the checkbook’, which they found funny but found hurtful.
“In my opinion, not only was she telling the truth about what Tony had told her, but the things he had told her were essentially correct.”
Concluding his judgment, he said: âNeither the plaintiffs nor Jennifer were a fully satisfactory witness …
“The evidence, especially that of Juliette and Jennifer, was permeated and influenced by a sense of the right to inherit Tony’s estate to support a standard of living for Juliette and Lauretta and their children that Juliette and Lauretta had enjoyed until now. at their young adulthood, before the divorce of their parents.
“On the other hand, I found Pamela a direct and objective witness who testified in a measured and dignified manner. I consider her recollections and impression of the relationship between the applicants and their father and herself to be much more precise and reliable. than those of the plaintiffs and Jennifer.
“As is clear from the findings I have made, I have concluded that Tony had no obligation or liability to either of the claimants at the time of his death.
“Tony had generously offered the two applicants a cash donation in 2008 that they were able to invest in real estate.
“He made it clear at that point that they could not expect any further financial help from him.
âThe wishes of the deceased are a relevant issue that must be assessed along with other relevant factors.
“It follows that I reject both Juliet’s request and Lauretta’s request.”
The judge added that if Jennifer’s Â£ 1.6million stack were sold, the funds would provide “realistic opportunities for Jennifer, Juliet and the two children, neither of whom require maintenance from Tony’s estate” .