NI farmer admits forging will to inherit £1m estate

By Lenore Rice

A farmer from Northern Ireland has pleaded guilty to forging a Will in order to inherit the £1million estate from an elderly woman.

Catherine Haughey, who died in December 2004, had originally made a Will that left just £1,000 to Francis Tiernan from Forkhill, who was her godson. The bulk of the estate was left to a number of charities and a friend Alice Quinn. Just two weeks before her death it was alleged that Ms Haughey had changed her Will and after her death Ms Quinn raised concerns about the new Will and contacted the police.

The new Will left large amounts of cash, a house, and a pub valued at £500,000 to Mr Tiernan. Mr Tiernan denied forging the Will but after being extradited from the Republic of Ireland entered a guilty plea. A surveyor and GP both received suspended sentences after admitting to drafting and witnessing the forged Will.

Mr Tiernan's solicitors argued that while he admitted the fraud, he felt the amended Will accurately reflected Ms Haughey's wishes for her estate.

Sentencing will be handed down by Newry Crown Court on Friday 24th October.

If you require legal advice about writing a Will or contesting a Will, contact Wilson Nesbitt in Belfast or Bangor by calling 0800 840 9293.