Judgment reserved in contested will case

A woman contesting her late sister’s will had engaged in four years of litigation “to effectively challenge her sister’s autonomy” in deciding to leave her estate to a long-term friend, the High Court has heard.

Judgment reserved in contested will case

Majella Rippington, sister of the late Celine Murphy, 50, sought to “damnify her sister’s mental capacity” despite having been furnished with medical reports showing she had such capacity, Cormac Ó Dúlacháin said.

Mrs Rippington, replying to closing submissions by Mr Ó Dúlacháin, said she had come to court to contest the will because Ms Murphy had “allowed disingenuous people into her life”. Her sister “became a victim” and so did her family and they had a right to look for justice.

Ms Murphy died single, with no children, from cancer on March 15, 2011. She left an estate valued by the beneficiary at €283,000, including an apartment in City West, Dublin.

Mrs Rippington and Mr Ó Dúlacháin , who represents beneficiary Mary Butler, as well as executor Tridentine Bishop Michael Cox, made submissions yesterday.

Mr Justice Seamus Noonan said he he would give judgment as soon as he can.

Mrs Rippington, her husband Shaun, and Ms Murphy’s other sister Edel Banahan, want the will declared invalid on grounds of duress and undue influence.

Mrs Butler and the Bishop deny the claims, say Celine was of sound mind, and have counter-claimed seeking to have the will declared valid.

Mrs Rippington, in her submissions, said they have been forced to bring proceedings because they had not been given “any real information” as to the circumstances in which the handwritten will was made. The actual witnessing of the will in the home of Mrs Butler — the day before Celine was admitted to hospital a week before she died — raised many questions, she said.

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