Mother's will 'forged' by Gloucester couple
A woman forged her mother's will to cut out her three beneficiaries and benefit herself and her husband, Gloucester Crown Court has heard.
Julie Fairs, 57, and her husband Brian, 76, are accused of photocopying Gillian Williams' signature onto a fake document after her death.
The pair, from Abbotswood Road, Gloucester, deny forgery and fraud.
The jury heard that Mrs Williams did not like Mr Fairs and had not wanted to leave money to him or her daughter.
On the first day of the trial, prosecutor David Maunder said that alongside a previous will, Mrs Williams - who died in 2016 - had written a letter saying: "Because my daughter Julie has no children of her own I do not want her husband or his family to benefit from my will."
He told the court: "She made it clear to many people that she did not want Brian to benefit from her will."
She had instructed solicitors to create a will that left her estate to three brothers Martin, Geoffrey and Paul Davies, who were family friends, he said.
Mr Maunders said the Fairs had got a copy of the will from their father Frank Davies "under false pretences".
"Brian Fairs then used it as a template to fabricate a false will, making his wife the sole beneficiary and excluding the Davies boys completely, by photocopying her signature onto a document."
Mr Fairs then tricked two friends into signing the amended will without their knowledge, he said.
The forgery was spotted when the couple took the will to Dee & Griffin's Solicitors in Gloucester, where they met legal executive Kirstie Hopton, the court was told.
"You would not need to be a qualified lawyer to smell a rat," Mr Maunders said.
"It was not sewn together as they can be, it was not bound, or even stapled together.
"The signature appeared to be copied and not in 'wet ink'."
Mrs Hopton later noticed discrepancies in dates and page numbers, he added.
The pair deny forgery between 1 December 2016 and 25 May 2017 by creating a document purporting to be the last will and testament of Mrs Williams.
They have also both entered not guilty pleas to fraud on 24 May 2017 through falsely representing to Mrs Hopton, that the document was authentic, thereby intending to make a gain for themselves.
The trial continues.