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19 November 2020 | Comment | Article by Roman Kubiak TEP

Caroline Flack – A lasting legacy

Caroline Flack, the television personality perhaps best known for her role as the host of the popular reality TV show Love Island, tragically took her own life in February 2020 at the age of 40.

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It was later revealed that Miss Flack had died without having made a will. In circumstances where a person dies without leaving, they are declared as having died intestate.

In those circumstances, an application must be made for letters of administration which, once granted, allows the appointed administrator to deal with the assets of the deceased’s estate and distribute them in accordance with the intestacy provisions.

The rules as to who is entitled to apply for letters of administration, and order of priority are set out in the rule 22 of the Non-Contentious Probate Rules 1987, and are as follows:

  1. the surviving husband or wife;
  2. the children of the deceased and grandchildren in the case of a deceased child;
  3. the mother and father of the deceased;
  4. blood-related brothers and sisters, and niece or nephew in the case of a deceased sibling;
  5. grandparents; and
  6. blood-related uncles and aunts and cousins in the case of a deceased uncle or aunt.

As Miss Flack was not married at the time of her death, did not have children and was survived by her parents, they were first entitled to make the application. Miss Flack’s mother Christine has applied for, and now been appointed as the administrator of the estate.

Recently released probate figures confirmed the total value of Miss Flack’s estate amounted to some £2million. However, when taking account of liabilities etc, the net value of the estate has been confirmed as £827.691.00.

Miss Flack’s parents as her nearest living relatives are entitled to receive estate in its entirety. However, Miss Flack was well known for her charitable activities, and recent reports have confirmed that her parents, rather than retaining the estate funds themselves, intend to donate the value of her estate to charity.

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact upon charities and the third sector in general, but particularly in terms of fundraising from sponsorship and donor giving. Many events which generate huge sources of income for charities annually, for example, the London Marathon have been cancelled, which so many charities rely upon as a vital source of income.

No doubt, the charities who will ultimately benefit from Miss Flack’s estate will be delighted to receive such vital funds during such a challenging period for the third sector and will, of course, make use of them to further their respective charitable purposes.

If you’d like to make or update your will to include a legacy gift, our will writing experts will be able to help you formalise this.

Or if some you know has died who would have wanted part or all of their estate to pass to a charity, but like Miss Flack they didn’t have a will (or you believe their will doesn’t reflect their known wishes), our contested wills, trusts and estate team can help you resolve this.

Author bio

Roman Kubiak is a partner and head of the market leading Contested Wills, Trusts and Estates team.

He advises across the whole spectrum of private wealth disputes, with a particular focus on high value, complex and cross-border disputes including: trust disputes, breach of trust claims and applications to remove trustees; will disputes, particularly those with an international element; claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975; and claims for equitable relief under proprietary estoppel, constructive trusts and resulting trusts.

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.

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