Row as will leaves assets to Salvation Army major

Dr Casey's Port Seton house was left in his will. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Dr Casey's Port Seton house was left in his will. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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The family of a retired doctor are demanding an investigation into his will after he left the bulk of his assets to a female Salvation Army officer.

Dr John Casey, 69, from Port Seton died in May after a long battle with cancer.

However, his family were left stunned when they found out his will, which he had drawn up two months before his death, named Major Christine Bailey as the main beneficiary.

Dr Casey left his house and its contents, valued at around £150,000, including a large book collection and his car to the Major, who he’d met through the charity.

In his will, he states: “I give the residue of my estate to Major Christine Bailey . . . consisting of my dwelling-house at Forth 15 Forth Grove, Port Seton, with all contents including books, car, furnishings and kitchen equipment.”

The news has come as a shock to his relatives, who were left miniscule amounts in comparison and are now calling for an investigation into the will after insisting Dr Casey would have wanted the bequest to go to the charity itself rather than an individual from it.

Dr Casey’s niece, Sandra Simpson, said her aunt, Dr Casey’s sister, Jessie, had been left devastated by the decision.

“My mother-in-law has taken this as a real blow, she doesn’t understand why Uncle John left everything to someone we do not know,” she explained.

“When she last visited Uncle John she urged him to put his affairs in order, and he told her his house belonged to God; well this individual is not God, so we can’t understand what has happened.”

Jessie, 77, who lives in Kent, has been left £2000, while his seven nieces and nephews were left £1000 each.

His friends and neighbours were also granted several small bequests and he allowed his remaining relatives to choose items from jewellery, photographs and other small personal items from his home.

His valuable book collection was strictly off-limits, though, as this is included in Major Bailey’s bequest.

Major Bailey herself is currently undertaking a post with the Salvation Army in Latvia where she has spent the majority of the year.

She did return to oversee Dr Casey’s funeral in May but the family have been told she is under no obligation to pass any of the bequest on because she has officially retired.

A Salvation Army spokesperson said: “We are saddened by the passing of Dr Casey, who was a committed Salvation Army soldier.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this difficult time.

“We would not comment on an individual case, but where money is left in a legacy to an active Salvation Army officer, it will be given to the organisation.

“In a case of a personal bequest to a retired officer, it would not be appropriate for us to comment.”

Major Bailey declined to comment.