Ballet dancer ignored in gran’s will wins more than £100,000

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Ballet dancer ignored in gran’s will wins more than £100,000

A dancer who quit her career to look after her grandmother has won a share of her £650,000 fortune after being left out of her will.

Lynsey Delaforte, 36, provided 24-hour care for Joan Flood for over seven years from 2008, moving into her home after giving up ballet.

She cooked and cleaned for the ‘challenging’ pensioner who had dementia, dressing her, making sure she ate and looking after her in the most ‘loving and devoted’ way, a court heard.

Ballet dancer Lynsey Delaforte outside Central London County Court

Caption: Ballet dancer Lynsey Delaforte outside Central London County Court during hearing in her dispute with uncle Paul Flood over will of her gran Joan Flood. Image by Champion News Service Ltd Photographer: Paul Keogh Copyright: Champion News Service Ltd

But when Mrs Flood died in 2016, Lynsey was left with nothing – except student debt and a 20-year-old car.

Under the 2006 will, all of Mrs Flood’s cash and her Twickenham home were split between her son, Paul Flood, and daughter Annette Dargue – Miss Delaforte’s mum.

At Central London County Court, her mum backed her claim to a payout from the estate, but her financially ‘comfortable’ uncle, 60, said she should get nothing.

His lawyers insisted that, as his niece had been paid for the care she gave his mum, she was not a ‘dependant’ of the pensioner.

However, after a three-day hearing, Judge Alan Johns QC ruled the Royal Academy of Dance graduate should receive £110,000 from her beloved gran’s estate.

Paul Flood outside Central London County Court

Lynsey’s uncle Paul Flood had claimed she was not entitled to anything in the estate because she had been paid to care for his mother (Picture: Champion)

Lynsey says she now plans to use the cash to support herself while she sets up a freelance dance teaching business.

The judge 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.’

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During the trial, Lynsey’s lawyers claimed that, having moved in to be her gran’s carer, she had been financially dependant on the widow.

Her barrister Sarah Harrison said: ‘This is a case where a grand-daughter provided 24-hour care to her grandmother at least six days a week in return for receiving modest state benefits and £100 per month.

‘The devoted care provided by Miss Delaforte to the deceased placed a moral obligation on the deceased to provide for her.’

But Mr Flood claimed his niece only moved into the £550,000 house in Whitton, south London  because she had taken redundancy from a ‘dull and energy-sapping’ marketing job and had nowhere to go.

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However, Mrs Harrison said what Lynsey did for her grandmother went far beyond just a job.

She said: ‘It is quite obvious the care she was providing could only be explained by love and devotion to her grandmother.’

Mr Flood admitted that his mum was ‘one of the most challenging characters’ he had ever met and Lynsey ‘did a very good job’ looking after her. It had not been a ‘commercial arrangement’, he eventually admitted under cross-examination.

Judge Johns said Lynsey will get £66,000 from her uncle’s share of the estate and £44,000 from her mother’s.

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