In the case of Delaforte v Flood  WTLR 499, the Central London County Court ruled that a claimant grandchild was entitled to reasonable financial provision from her late grandmother’s estate.
Grandchildren are not typically eligible to bring a claim as a category of applicant under Section 1(1) of the Inheritance Act. However, if they can show that they are a person that was being financially maintained by the deceased, either financially or wholly, that individual can bring a claim under Section 1(1)(e) of the Inheritance Act.
In this case, the deceased suffered from vascular dementia, amongst other medical conditions, and required round the clock care. The claimant, being the deceased’s granddaughter, had given up her own career as a ballet dancer, for over seven years, to care fulltime for the deceased on a live-in basis. Despite receiving carer’s and attendance allowance, as well as top up payments, the granddaughter received below market pay.
In 2016, the deceased passed away leaving an estate valued at around £630,000. Unfortunately, no provision was made for the granddaughter in the deceased’s will. In fact, the deceased’s children, being the granddaughter’s mother and uncle, were named as beneficiaries in the estate.
The granddaughter made a claim under Section 1(1)(e) of the Inheritance Act as a person who had been maintained by the deceased in the two years prior to her death. After considering the background details, the Court ruled that the granddaughter was entitled to reasonable financial provision and an award was made based on the sum of money that she would require to establish her own dance business as she had desired.
The Court also awarded her provision for her maintenance requirements for the three years following the deceased’s death. In making the award, the Court was cautious to emphasise that this award did not account for the compassion and selflessness shown by the claimant in forsaking her career to care for her grandmother.
Although the case does not alter the position in relation to a grandchild’s entitlement to bring a claim for reasonable financial provision under the Inheritance Act, it is an example of the approach the Court will take in considering the individual circumstances of a claimant and the extent to which they contributed to the needs of the deceased.
The Court was clear that if the claimant had not given up her career to care for the deceased, it is likely she would never have left hospital or would have been moved into a care home, which would have costed her a considerable amount of money. It was clear that these were circumstances in which an individual had provided care and/or sacrificed for the care of the deceased.
In circumstances where a grandparent has passed away, and supported you financially, it is worth considering whether you can make a claim for reasonable financial provision from their estate under the Inheritance Act.
Blog written by Meg Edwards, Trainee Solicitor & Sarah Bolt, Senior Associate in the Contested Wills, Trust and Estates team.