Estate agent fears being made homeless over £500K legal bill after he lost inheritance fight

An estate agent fears becoming homeless after losing a court battle with his sister over their late mother cutting her out of her will while 'delusional' - and needs to come up with £500,000 to pay her legal bills.

John Clitheroe, 53, and sister Sue Bond, 55, clashed in court over the estate left by their mother, Jean Clitheroe, who died in 2017.

Ms Clitheroe wrote her will whilst suffering from multiple delusions - including a false belief that her daughter had stolen her collection of Harry Potter books.

The mother, who had left assets valued at between £450,000 to £670,000, had also branded her daughter a 'spendthrift' and 'shopaholic' and cut her out of her will, believing she would 'fritter away' any inheritance.

She left the bulk of her wealth to Mr Clitheroe in her final will of 2013.

But after a challenge by bank manager Ms Bond a judge ruled the last will and an earlier one were invalid, as she was affected by 'insane delusions' about her daughter when she wrote them.

Jean Clitheroe (circled top right) left her daughter Susan (bottom left) out of her final will in 2013

Son John Clitheroe disputed his sister's court win and must now pay her legal bills of around £500,000

That result meant the warring siblings would share their mother's estate because she died intestate, without a valid will.

However Mr Clitheroe, a once successful estate agent based in Essex, went on to challenge the ruling, but had his appeal dismissed by High Court judge, Mrs Justice Falk, last year.

Challenging the initial ruling, Mr Clitheroe's lawyers said the court's decision to give his sister half his mother's wealth was an 'unwarranted infringement' of her right to decide who to give her money to.

They blamed the judge's reliance on a 140-year-old Victorian law - known as the 'Banks Test' - which they said risks older people being 'wrongly denied autonomy to make their own decisions.'

He now faces losing his home to pay his sister's court costs of around £500,000, having already been ordered to hand over £200,000 of that on account in October.