The estranged daughter of an earl has lost her claim at his £1.3 million estate after a judge deemed it her fault that she lives in a council house on benefits. Lady Tara Wellesley had not seen her father, the seventh Earl Cowley, in over 26 years before he passed away aged 81 in 2016. Earl Cowley had left £20,000 in his Will to Lady Wellesley, resulting in her taking the case to court in a claim for a bigger payout.
On January 11th, Judge John Linwood dismissed her claim saying she was at fault for her estrangement and financial problems due to her crazed “drink and drugs” lifestyle, which her father strongly disliked. He continued “I also find Tara did for some time live….a lifestyle of drink, drugs, and bohemia. That lifestyle, plus her disruptive influence and behavior, led to her estrangement from her father. He would not accept her rejection of his and (her step-mother) Paige’s values and expectations in complying with what he expected in the best interests as he saw them of the wider family. I find that the estrangement was due to Tara’s conduct alone.”
After passing away, her father left most of his estate to her brother, Graham, an amount to his final wife, Dowager Countess Carola and split the rest between Tara’s younger stepsisters. Lady Tara based her claims of a bigger share behind the confidence that her father would support her dreams of being an artist and funded that if he were still alive. She also claimed she had never taken any drugs and had only been to ‘the odd nightclub’.
Her brother, eighth earl Graham Wellesley, fought her claim labeling her a ‘wild child’ and stating that his father took weeks to get over meetings with her during the 1980s. He said his father did not leave Lady Tara more due to ‘years of wasted assistance’. The main problem was her ‘refusal to provide for herself’ and commented that his father was ‘ashamed’ of Tara and likened her ‘to a sponge which kept taking but never giving back’.
After hearing both sides, Judge Linwood said Lady Tara was capable of living within her means and, despite her ADHD, “there seems to be no reason why Tara could not try to find work. The deceased was not in any way vindictive, malicious or unfair towards Tara; indeed the evidence of her brother and sisters which I accept is that he treated them all the same.”
As a result, he dismissed Lady Tara’s claim on her late father’s estate.