Recent news reports have surfaced covering the results of a bitter inheritance battle over the £4.75 million fortune left by millionaire ice cream tycoon Ernesto Collici, as legal fees are to be paid out by the widow.


Primarily, upon his death in 2021, Ernesto left his £4.75m fortune to his second wife Ms Grinberg. This ignited a brutal inheritance war, as his first wife and two children who held key positions in his company’s success, felt themselves entitled to his fortune.


Recent results of this dispute have revealed that they won this High Court battle in May.

However, this month the family made a return to the High Court in order for the judge to rule how the costly legal bills of the dispute should be split up between the parties.


The judge ruled that as the Collicis fell on the winning side of the dispute, they were entitled to make Ms Grinberg pay the majority of their £389,000 legal costs. Henceforth, the Russian widow Ms Grinberg now faces a £300,000 court bill after losing both the inheritance dispute and her late husband.


Our thoughts


Martin Holdsworth, CEO and Founder of IDR Law comments;


A well-known mediator once said to one of our clients that in his view, taking an inheritance dispute to trial was no different from going into a casino and placing everything you have on red, or on a BlackJack hand. Taking a dispute all the way to trial is, thankfully, rare. Reflecting over the last 20 years or so of cases where we have actually been unable to avoid a trial, I can effectively summarise my own experience about the situations where trials are far more likely:


– A party who shuns legal representation (referred to as a litigant in person)

– A party represented by lawyers who lack the experience to understand or effectively communicate the casino analogy or who fails to proactively assess and engage with their own dispute and so react to the other party aggressively without objectivity. 

– A party who has enough funds to afford a loss or conversely a party who has no funds and can’t afford to back down


The above can exist despite our best efforts to resolve a dispute – 2 of our last 3 trials have had litigants in person as opponents… Litigation is very expensive if you lose and pretty expensive if you win. And that’s just the financial effects of a trial – in reality – the longer lasting impact is the familial and emotional damage of a trial judgement…




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