Woman Wins Share of £650,000 Estate

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Last week featured a story about a woman who successfully challenged a will, following her decision to give up her career to look after her grandmother.

Lynsey Delaforte, 36, a Royal Academy of Dance graduate sacrificed her ballerina career when she moved in with her grandmother in 2008. Joan Flood had dementia and needed full-time care—cooking and cleaning, help dressing and making sure she ate.

When Mrs Flood died seven and a half years later in 2016, she left nothing in her will to Ms Delaforte, instead leaving her assets and Twickenham home to her son Paul Flood and her daughter Annette Dargue, Ms Delaforte’s mother.

Uncle opposition

Encouraged by her mother, Ms Delaforte launched a legal claim for a share of the estate. This was opposed by her uncle, Paul Flood who claimed his niece’s care was a commercial arrangement.

But as Central London county court yesterday, Judge Alan Johns ruled that Ms Delaforte should receive £110,00 from her grandmother’s £650,000 estate. He said: “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.”

Ms Delaforte’s lawyer Sarah Harrison said her client was financially dependent on her grandmother, and provided her with round-the-clock care at least six days a week. She received only modest state payments and £100 a month, meaning there was “a moral obligation on the deceased to provide for her”.

‘Challenging character’

Mr Flood’s argued that his niece’s care for this mother was a commercial arrangement after she took redundancy from a marketing position and had nowhere to go. During the three-day court hearing, Mr Flood said had been “one of the most challenging characters” and that Ms Delaforte did a very good job looking after her.

Under cross-examination he admitted there had not been a commercial arrangement and therefore Ms Delaforte was owed a share of the estate he and his sister inherited.

Ms Delaforte will receive £66,000 from her uncle’s share, and £44,000 from her mother’s, and the court heard she wishes to use her money to set up a freelance dance teaching business.

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