A woman accused of forging her mother's will to steal tens of thousands of pounds has been cleared of any wrongdoing.

Stella McKechie was accused by her brothers of faking the signature of their mother, Margaret Organ, so that Mrs McKechie scooped the lion's share of her assets when Mrs Organ died.

But the High Court in London has thrown out their objections and ruled that "on the balance of probabilities" Mrs Organ's signature was genuine.

Lawyers for Andrew Organ and his brother Gregory claimed Mrs Organ, did not "know or approve" of the contents of her April 2002 will despite reading through it before signing.

They said Mrs McKechie forged their mother's signature on an undated letter which led to fundamental changes in the final document. They were supported in their case by their brother Adrian.

When Mrs Organ, who died in March 2003, initially decided to make a will it was drafted in February 2002 splitting her £272,000 estate equally between her four children.

The disputed letter was sent after the initial draft had been drawn up, and meant Adrian, Gregory and Andrew received £15,000 each and, apart from some legacies to Mrs Organ's grandchildren, Mrs McKechie, of Beech Grove, Turners Hill Road, Crawley Down, Crawley, got the rest.

It was Mrs McKechie's case that her mother dictated the letter to her as a true reflection of her wishes, and then the pensioner signed it herself.

Judge Mark Pelling QC accepted her version of events.

Although handwriting expert Audrey Giles had said there was "strong positive" evidence the signature had been forged, and there were eight discrepancies in it, the judge said she only had a limited number of genuine signatures to work from.

The judge added that it had always been Mrs Organ's intention to send a list of beneficiaries to her will draughters and had told a financial adviser she would have to think about how much to leave to each of her children.

"There is an air of unreality about the allegation made," said Judge Pelling.

"The letter was sent to an intelligent will writer and at the time it was written it would have been blindingly obvious that the letter would result in a revised draft will which would be sent to the deceased to read.

"There is no evidence to suggest that Mrs McKechie would think her mother would sign such a will without first reading it. It is common ground Mrs Organ was very particular about accuracy. There is no suggestion she lacked testamentary capacity or Mrs McKechie was guilty of undue influence."

Judge Pelling also rejected suggestions that Mrs McKechie was not "sufficiently astute" to have thought through the consequences of sending off the disputed letter.

"It doesn't require ay great astuteness to understand this point at all," said the judge. "It's a matter of common sense."

He also dismissed arguments that the will should be "rectified" because of a clause mistakenly inserted into the will by its draughtsman.

The court had heard evidence from financial adviser Jill Mason, who said she had sat with Mrs Organ when she first gave instructions for the will, and "felt sorry for her" when she told her Mrs McKechie had done more for her than her sons.

Ms Mason's evidence was that Mrs Organ was "indebted" to Mrs McKechie and her husband, John, for the support they had given her when she became a widow.

The court heard that Mrs Organ and her husband, Edward, sold their house in November 2001 and planned to purchase a property with Stella and her family.

Edward died on the day the house was sold but Mrs Organ did buy a house with her daughter - Beech Grove - putting up £100,000 of the purchase price.