Woman hoping for €7.6m from divorce left with just €45,600 after husband died during proceedings
A widow is contesting a will that left her with £36,000 (€45,580) after telling a court that a divorce would have gained her £6 million (€7.6m) – but her husband died during proceedings.
Mari Vindis had been separated from, Nigel, of Vindis Group car dealerships, for two years and filed divorce papers two months before he died aged 58 in hospital.
However, Mr Vindis had already cut her out of the lion’s share of his wealth.
Mrs Vindis, 59, wants the High Court to make legal history by rewriting her husband’s will to make “reasonable provision” for her, claiming she would have received half his £12 million estate had the divorce gone through earlier.
Mr Vindis’s will and a letter of intentions prepared in the months before his death in April 2013 left the majority of the estate to the couple’s two children, Gabriella, 26, and Alexander, 28.
The court has heard that Mrs Vindis is facing a “hostile” claim against the estate from her late husband’s sisters, Sonjia Stubbings, 73, and Theresa Orrock, 58.
Although her children are said to be supportive of their mother’s claim, her daughter has said it would “drive a coach and horses” through Mr Vindis’s wish to leave most of his wealth to her and her brother if her mother's claim succeeds in full.
Mrs Justice Asplin was told that the couple had enjoyed “many years of happy marriage” during a relationship lasting almost 40 years.
They raised their children in a £1.5 million house in Sawston, Cambs, as Mr Vindis’s business “went from strength to strength”. The couple “developed a very good lifestyle,” with a Rolls-Royce and holiday homes in Cornwall, France and Spain.
They separated in 2011, with Mrs Vindis blaming her husband’s drinking. She now lived in Cornwall and earns £11,000-a-year as a hypnotherapist.
The will stated she was to have assets worth £1 million – but that included the half share she already owned in three family properties. The case has been adjourned.