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21 February 2019 | Comment | Article by Roman Kubiak TEP

Dancer who sacrificed career wins share of £650,000 estate


A ballet dancer who sacrificed her career in order that she could devote herself to providing care to her grandmother, has been successful in seeking provision from her estate.

The claimant, Lynsey Delaforte, brought a claim against the estate of her late grandmother Mrs Joan Flood, on the basis of financial dependency pursuant to s.1 (1) (e) of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 seeking reasonable financial provision.

Find more information on our Contested Wills, Trusts & Estates department. Or if you want to discuss any issues raised in this article contact us today.

Mrs Flood had made a will in 2006 leaving her estate, including her home and all other estate assets, to her children Paul Flood and Annette Dargue – Miss Delaforte’s mother. The total value of the deceased estate amounted to some £650,000.

After Mrs Flood was diagnosed with dementia, Miss Delaforte moved into her home in 2008, in order to provide 24 hour care to her. In doing so, the graduate of the Royal Academy of Dance had foregone the opportunity to pursue her career as a dancer, instead devoting herself to the care of her grandmother. From that time, and until Mrs Flood’s death in 2016, Miss Delaforte’s primary source of income had been in the form of state benefits and a further payment of £100 per month.

Following Mrs Flood’s death and based upon her 2006 will, Miss Delaforte stood to receive nothing from her estate. Accordingly, a claim was issued upon her behalf, Miss Delaforte claiming that since moving into her grandmother’s home she had become financially dependent upon her.

Miss Delaforte’s mother, one of the two defendants to the claim accepted that her daughter should receive a proportion of the estate. However, Paul Flood contested the claim, contending that Miss Delaforte should receive nothing. He denied that Miss Delaforte was dependent upon Mrs Flood and indeed, neither was she an eligible claimant within s 1 (1) (e) of the act, contending that as Miss Delaforte had been paid for the care provided, such care had been provided upon the basis of a commercial arrangement. However, under cross-examination by Miss Delaforte’s barrister, Mr Flood ultimately accepted it had not been a commercial arrangement.

Following the three day trial at the Central London County Court before Judge Alan Johns QC, Miss Delaforte was awarded a sum of £110,000 from her grandmother’s estate. Miss Delaforte will receive £66,000 from Mr Flood’s share of the estate and £44,000.00 from her mother’s share. The Judge commenting:

‘That is not a reward for her plainly meritorious conduct in caring devotedly for her grandmother’… It simply represents reasonable financial provision for her maintenance.’

When considering whether to bring a claim for reasonable financial provision, or indeed, when faced with a decision as to whether to defend such a claim, the case highlights the importance of seeking specialist advice at an early stage.

Find more information on our Contested Wills, Trusts & Estates department. Or if you want to discuss any issues raised in this article contact us today.

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.

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