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Disputed estates: Granddaughter’s case provides comfort for families

A granddaughter who has won a legal battle with her uncle for a share of her grandmother’s estate provides reassurance for those who have given up a career to care for a loved one, says Lodders’ Caroline Cowley.

Royal Academy of Dance graduate Lindsey Delaforte gave up a career as a ballet dancer to provide 24-hour care to her grandmother Joan Flood, who suffered from dementia.

Mrs Flood died in 2016 but left Miss Delaforte with nothing after she failed to update her will.  Mrs Flood left her estate to her two children, Miss Delaforte’s mother and uncle.

The 2006 will split all of Mrs Flood’s cash and her £550,000 Twickenham home between Paul Flood and Annette Dargue.

The case was heard at Central London County Court, and her mother backed Miss Delaforte’s claim to a payout from the estate. Miss Delaforte’s 60-year-old uncle – who the court heard is the financially ‘comfortable’ member of the family – said she was due nothing.

Disputing her claim, Mr Flood’s lawyers insisted that, as his niece had been paid for the care she gave his mother, she was not a ‘dependent’ of the pensioner.

However, the judge ruled that Miss Delaforte should receive £110,000 from her grandmother’s estate.

Clarification

This case certainly provides comfort for those people who have given up a career or home to look after someone.  It clarifies that they are able – and right – to claim financial provision.

It also reinforces the importance of thinking about wills, especially at times of change. You should review your will regularly, and acknowledge that there could be a change in your health and circumstances. Think ahead, check your will, and ensure that you include all the people you want to inherit your estate after you are gone.

Caroline Cowley is a solicitor in Lodders Dispute Resolution team, specialising in contentious probate. For more information, please contact Caroline, or Sofia Tayton a partner in Lodders Private Client department, and read our recent blogs on wills and LPAs.

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Get in touch

For more information, please contact Caroline, or Sofia Tayton a partner in Lodders Private Client department