Daughter cut out of late father’s £1 million estate takes stepmother to court

A 41-year-old woman who was cut out of her father’s will has taken her stepmother to court for a piece of the £1 million estate.

Danielle Ames’s father, Michael Leslie Ames, died three years ago leaving his fortune to his second wife and Danielle’s stepmother, 63-year-old Elaine Ames.

Ms Ames is arguing she is due £300,000 in reasonable provision from the estate. However her stepmother says the late Mr Ames cut his daughter out of the will intentionally.

Ms Ames claims she was dependent on her father and his death has left her not only bereaved but in financially dire straits. She lives in a three-bedroom rented house in Enfield with partner, Lornis Branch, and their two children, surviving on his £800 monthly wage, plus benefits.

Ms Ames says a £300,000 payment will allow her and her family to buy a £600,000 home in their local area. According to her barrister, her family currently has a monthly deficit of over £2,000 and she is struggling to make ends meet. She also has debts of £10,000.

Describing her claim as reasonable, he said: ‘The types of costs set out by Danielle are not extraordinary or unusual in any way for a family-of-four living in outer London.”

But Mrs Ames’ barrister  said that Ms Ames is a grown up, “fit and able to work” and ought to stand on her own two feet.

Mrs Ames told the court that her late husband believed people should work for their money and had such a strong work ethic he even made his grandchildren work for their pocket money. She also said that her late husband had promised her that his money would be used to look after her in her old age.

She said: “My husband would never have told Daniella ‘all this will be yours.’

“He always said he knew that he and I were both ill. He always knew we would need to be looked after, coming to the end of our lives.

“He would have loved to have left money to the grandchildren, so they could say, ‘my grandad left me this’, but it couldn’t be.”

Today's Wills and Probate