Durban - The Durban High Court ruled this week that a will which named a Durban woman as the executrix for the multimillion-rand estate of her dead La Lucia neighbour was a forgery.

The court was dealing with the estate of Luise Charlotte Davies, who died in September 2012.

The will, which has been the focus of a lengthy legal battle for several years, stated that Davies appointed her neighbour, Pamela Adline Pillay, as the executrix of the estate and left her the bulk of her estate.

When Davies’ gardener became suspicious of the contents of the will, a criminal case was opened and the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) brought a court application to have the assets in the estate preserved.

The assets that were preserved included a R5.8million property in La Lucia and several million held in a Standard Bank account.

Pillay and two Durban attorneys were arrested and charged with fraud, forgery, theft and money laundering in connection with the will, but the matter was withdrawn last year.

Pillay, in an interview with The Mercury’s sister paper the Post newspaper earlier this year, denied any wrongdoing.

In terms of the order granted by the court, it was declared that Davies died intestate or without a will.

It also ruled that the appointment of Pillay as the executrix of the estate was set aside and she was ordered to hand over all documentation, including original letters of executorship issued to her, to the Master of the Court.

She was also ordered to sign all documents to ensure that all property and bank accounts were transferred back to the estate. The court also ruled that the assets, which had been preserved, were forfeited.

These assets would go to Davies’ niece and nephew Emmi Louise Barbara Pape and Paul Otto Wolfgang Landgraf, who were declared the only intestate heirs, eligible to take ownership of Davies’ properties and bank accounts.

Pillay has also been directed to pay the costs of the National Director of Prosecutions and those of Pape and Landgraf in the applications that came before the court.

The Mercury