Family miss out on £1million as uncle leaves fortune to Turkish carer he hired just a few months earlier
The family of a former civil servant have spoken of their fury after he left his £1million estate to a Turkish carer he met just 14 months before he died.
Dennis Sears changed his will to leave everything to live-in home help Nermin Kancefer months after she moved in to his £615,000 flat.
He disinherited his surviving relatives who had been the intended beneficiaries for more than 20 years. Four months later, he died at the age of 87.
His family claimed the carer exploited the 'vulnerable' childless widower, who had Parkinson's disease and was in poor health. But the mother-of-one, 50, insists Mr Sears had a change of heart after falling out with his family.
Mr Sears's family challenged the will but agreed a £50,000 settlement in August after they were told legal costs in the case could reach six figures. His nephew Peter Harris, 49, told the Mail the family had always got on well with the various carers Mr Sears had following his wife Kath's death in 2009.
But he claimed within months of Miss Kancefer's arrival she was calling him 'Daddy' and they felt 'something was not right'. He said Mr Sears 'suddenly' turned on his nephews and niece, accusing them of conspiring to put him into a nursing home. He instructed solicitors to serve harassment notices to prevent them contacting him.
Four months after she moved in, in February 2012, Mr Sears paid £3,000 to buy Miss Kancefer out of her agency contract so she could work for him privately. He also gave her rings which had belonged to his wife of 40 years.
He changed his will in August 2012 leaving the bulk to charity and some to Miss Kancefer, but changed it again in December that year leaving everything to her.
His estate included his three-bedroom riverside flat in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, and £400,000 in shares and cash. Mr Harris said he and his four siblings visited their uncle – whose late wife was their mother's sister – once a month and he had spent Christmas with their family for decades.
He added: 'We built a rapport with Dennis's carers to ensure he was happy and well cared-for. This all changed suddenly when Nermin appeared on the scene. We were incredibly close, he was ensconced in the family.
'All of a sudden there was a dramatic change in his behaviour. She convinced him we wanted to put him in a home and were only after his money. It was so far from the truth. Our only concern was for Dennis's welfare.'
He said fighting the will had been 'difficult' as his uncle was proved to have been of sound mind when he changed it.
'We just want people to know the warning signs so this doesn't happen to anyone else,' he added.
Miss Kancefer strongly denied any wrongdoing and said Mr Sears was 'extremely happy' with her. She said he was 'angry' with his relatives and it was his decision to disinherit them.
She told the Mail: 'I had a special connection with Dennis. He gave me love like I never had from my father.'
She added: 'When I found him he was in a very bad condition but he really recovered and was enjoying life.' She claimed she didn't find out about Mr Sears's second will change until after he died. Asked why she thought he left everything to her, she said: 'Because he was looked after very well.'
She said Mr Sears had felt 'bullied' by his relatives. 'If he was unhappy why should he leave it to them,' she said, adding: 'If my son does not treat me well I will do the same.'
Surrey Police fraud officers were investigating the case but yesterday made the decision to take no further action.
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