Widow contests Will after husband dies during divorce

Rebecca McCarthy web

By Rebecca McCarthy

The wife of a successful car tycoon is contesting her late husband’s Will after he died suddenly aged 58, leaving her with just £36,000 of his £12million estate. Nigel and Mari Vindis had separated in 2011 and filed for divorce two years later, however Mr Vindis passed away just two months after the filing.

Mr Vindis had altered his Will before his death, virtually cutting his estranged wife out of the Will and instead leaving the majority of his fortune to their two sons.

Had the divorce been finalised, Mrs Vindis alleges that she would have gained £6million, rather than receiving just 6% of the estate.

Mrs Vindis’s barrister claims that “the whole of the value of … [Mr Vindis’s] estate has been built up during the course of the marriage” and so the claim that she would have received half the assets on divorce is not unreasonable. Following the case of White v White the courts have recognised the value of non-financial contributions towards a family and Mrs Vindis was primarily a stay-at-home mother and homemaker during their relationship. However, if successful, such an award to Mrs Vindis would be the largest settlement in English history.

Mr and Mrs Vindis’s children have told the judge that they are ‘supporting’ their mother’s claim and ‘have a very close relationship’ with her, however they are aware that her claim will effectively ‘drive a coach and horses’ through their father’s wishes to provide for his children.

Further, Mr Vindis’s two sisters (Sonjia Stubbings and Theresa Orrock) are also bringing a claim as they feel they were unfairly excluded from the family business and are therefore entitled to a part of the estate.

If both Mari Vindis’s claims and those of Sonjia Stubbings and Theresa Orrock are successful, the result will likely be that there will not be enough to provide for the children as Mr Vindis wished.

Following two days in the High Court, the case has been adjourned for the disclosure of further evidence.

A version of this article appeared on todayswillsandprobate.co.uk

Rebecca McCarthy is a paralegal in the Private Client team at Barker Gotelee.

Solicitors in Suffolk – for more information on our range of legal services, please call the team on 01473 611211 or email bg@barkergotelee.co.uk