'Loyal' son is fighting his sister in High Court over father's fortune

‘Loyal’ son who is fighting his sister in High Court over their late father’s £100m fortune was left out of his will despite ‘offering to donate one of his lungs to save his life’

  • Louise Reeves stands to inherit £80million under her father Kevin Reeves’ will
  • Louise, 35, is locked in a High Court row with her older brother Bill over the will
  • Bill accused Louise of coercing their ailing father into changing his will in 2014 
  • Mr Reeves had four children but left 80% of his £100m fortune to Louise in will 

A ‘loyal and respectful’ son was left out of his tycoon father’s £100m will, despite offering him one of his own lungs to save his life.

Bill Reeves, 47, was left almost nothing when his property tycoon father Kevin rewrote his will to leave the majority of his vast fortune to his sister.

Former hairdresser daughter Louise, 35, was left to inherit her father’s Rolls Royce and assets worth up to £80m, while Bill got only a clutch of personal effects worth about £200,000.

She claims their father wanted her to inherit the fortune as he saw her as the heir to his business empire.

But Bill is now challenging the will at the High Court, accusing Louise – who he says ‘likes money and flash things’ – of bullying their father to get her hands on most of his wealth.

He claims he had always had a good relationship with his father and that they were so close he had actually offered to donate a lung to Kevin, who had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Earlier, Mr Justice Michael Green heard that Kevin had, from humble beginnings, created a vast personal fortune through a Southampton property empire now worth up to £100m.

Louise is locked i n a High Court row with her brother Bill (pictured), who claims she bullied their ailing father into changing his will and leaving her the vast majority of his riches

Louise Reeves (pictured), who could get £80m under her father’s will, has been accused of ‘coercing’ Kevin Reeves into leaving her most of his fortune as she is allegedly ‘materialistic’

He had been left as an orphan to a convent as a child and left school at 12, but through his ‘ingenuity and hard work’, made himself rich.

He had four children – Bill and Louise, estranged elder son Mark, and Lisa Murray, who did not know her dad until she was in her 20s.

Kevin, who died aged 71 in 2019, had previously intended to split the bulk of his estate equally between Bill, Louise and Lisa, but in 2014 rewrote his will to almost entirely leave Bill out.

Under the new will, Bill got personal possessions worth about £200,000, but the rest of the £100m fortune went to his daughters, with Louise getting £80m and Lisa £20m.

But the will is now under challenge in court, with Bill claiming Louise ‘coerced’ their dad into making it because she ‘likes money and power’ – disparaging Bill to get Kevin to cut him out.

However, Bill’s barrister Constance McDonnell QC insisted that the move made no sense as Kevin had been proud of his son, who had turned a £20,000 investment into his own property and business empire, worth £20m.

They had been so close that Bill had moved into an annexe next to Bill’s £2.5m home in the New Forest, while Bill had offered him a lung when he was declining with COPD.

‘Kevin’s affinity with Bill manifested itself in a decision in 2011 to move into the annexe immediately adjoining Bill’s home, where Kevin lived until his death,’ she said.

Property tycoon Mr Reeves (pictured) had four children but left 80 per cent of his £100million fortune to his youngest daughter, Louise, 35, when he died aged 71 in 2019, the court heard

‘Kevin’s relationship with Bill continued to be very close; they saw each other at least every few days – and usually more frequently – and went on holiday together to California and Las Vegas within a few weeks of the date of signing the 2014 will.

‘The closeness between them is further illustrated by the fact that Bill was prepared to donate one of his lungs to Kevin and to fund the necessary surgery.’

Ms McDonnell – who claims Louise exercised ‘undue influence’ over Kevin – said nothing had happened to make Kevin change his mind and reduce his son’s inheritance from as much as £26.6m to only £200,000.

‘Kevin and Bill had not fallen out about land and deals, and the suggestion that Bill did not lift a finger for Kevin was obviously untrue,’ she argued.

‘Bill had at his own cost constructed the annexe at his home for Kevin’s use and to Kevin’s specification, funded its outgoings, insured his father’s cars including a valuable Bentley which Bill had given to Kevin, and was a loyal and respectful son to him.

‘Such a change was startling in the context of Kevin’s family and relationships, and those who knew him well aver in their evidence that the provisions of the 2014 will are completely out of character and inexplicable.’

She said Kevin had been in poor health at the time he was ‘coerced’ into making the 2014 will, suffering from COPD and finding it difficult to walk up inclines or stairs.

But for Louise – who earlier denied coercing her dad or being money-oriented – Thomas Dumont QC denied that Kevin had been so ill that he was vulnerable to the influence of his daughter.

‘That Kevin was not in good health is not in dispute, and that much can be gleaned from his clinical records,’ he said.

‘However, there is no clinical material linking any of Kevin’s physical health issues to his mental wellbeing or any suggestion of vulnerability to influence.

‘And he was healthy enough to take Louise on the back of his quad bike, for instance to see his horses, and even to ride on horseback himself, around the time he made the 2014 will.’

Kevin was a ‘tough’ man who was not capable of being influenced into doing anything he did not want to do, he told the court.

And he had had five years after making the 2014 will in which he could have changed it if it was the product of Louise’s bullying and against his wishes.

He continued: ‘There is no undue influence. Instead there is a sense of grievance felt by Bill, and those he has gathered around him, that they have not received the inheritance they feel they are so deserving of.’

Bill’s challenge to the 2014 will is being supported by Ryan McKinnon, 24, a son of Kevin’s estranged son Mark who would inherit a share of his grandfather’s estate worth up to £10m if the 2014 will is ruled invalid.

Lisa Murray – who would inherit as much as £26.6m under the 2012 will, but up to £20m under the disputed will – is nevertheless supporting her sister Louise in court.

The trial continues.

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