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Estate of ex- civil partner millionaire forced to renegotiate consent order

Roocroft v Ball [2016] EWCA Civ 1009

The Personal Representatives of a millionaire businesswoman, Carole Ainscow, have been forced back to the family courts to renegotiate a consent order.

Helen Roocroft and Carole Ainscow where together for 18 years, entering into a civil partnership in 1999 however the relationship broke down and in civil partnership was dissolved in 2010.

Ainscow had been a successful property developer (appearing in the Times Rich List 2009) however, during the family proceedings she asserted that much of her fortune had been lost as a result of the 2008 economic crash. The agreed consent order was based on Ainscow’s much reduced financial circumstances.

Ainscow died in 2013 without a Will and her Personal Representatives took out Letters of Administration. Her ex-partner applied to have the Order set aside on the basis that the deceased had deliberately failed to disclose her true wealth, far from having assets of £750,000 she had signed off Company accounts in 2010 for over £5,000,000.

The Court of Appeal allowed Roocroft’s appeal against an earlier judgement dismissing her right to reopen the family law matter. It is now for the Personal Representatives to enter into costly court applications and hearings to renegotiate the consent order whilst bearing in mind their duty to the Estate and ultimately the beneficiaries.

It is an important reminder of the duties, obligations and risks an individual takes on when agreeing to administer an estate.

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