Colin Johnston, 77, told the High Court that his parents, Sidney and Elsie, had always favoured his “adored” younger brother Gary. He said that his mother resented him because his unexpected birth during the Second World War ended her dream of being a film star.

In later life his father bought manorial titles for Elsie and Gary, as well as Gary’s two children, but snubbed Colin.

Elsie died in 2013 and Gary in 2016. When Sidney Johnston died in 2017, aged 95, he left none of his £2.4 million fortune to his son. Inheritance act disputes are always better mediated as costs can eat up the whole estate.

4.A retired couple could lose their £650,000 home after a disagreement with a neighbour over a privet hedge.

Grandparents Ron and Wendy Long were left devastated after they discovered workmen chopping down a hedge between their home and their neighbour’s home in Dorset.

Ron, 72, claimed the fence posts they had partially installed were on his land, and wrote letters asking his neighbour Diana Lambeth to consult with him on the plans for any further work.

But Mrs Lambeth pursued an injunction against the couple in order to stop them interfering with the hedge and an independent expert decided the boundary was in the middle of the old hedge – and the Longs agreed in a bid to end the matter to avoid legal costs.

The Longs represented themselves in court, and the judge ordered that Ron and Wendy pay Mrs Lambeth’s court costs of £13,792.

The couple had been unable to obtain a loan to cover the costs due to a County Court Judgement (CCJ) hey incurred by not paying the costs on time.

Without the funds to pay the costs, the couple were once again summoned to court and a charge has now been placed on their three-bedroom property.

In June they were told Mrs Lambeth intends to take them to court for an order of possession and sale of their home.

This case highlights the risks of litigation which can be avoided by mediating.