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Millionaire leaves wife of 42 years nothing in his will

Imagine spending four decades with someone, caring for them in ill health and they 'mistakenly' don't include you in their will after they pass? This is exactly what happened to widow, Joan Thompson, 79, who lived with millionaire landowner, Wynford Hodge, 94, for 42 years before his death in 2017.

Now a judge has effectively re-written Mr Hodge's will to save Joan from poverty after he left his £1.5 million ($2.1m) fortune to two tenants who had worked on the Parsonage Farm and Caravan Park that he owned.

caravan park460In a letter attached to his will, Mr Hodge was adamant that he did not want Joan or her four children to inherit any of his fortune.

Describing Joan as 'financially comfortable', he said she had 'her own finances' and would have no need of his money.

But Judge, Milwyn Jarman, said that was a 'mistake' and Mrs Thompson had in fact been left with only modest savings of about £2,500 ($3,500), according to MailOnline.

Reluctantly living on benefits in a nursing home, she wanted to return to the family estate where she had friends on the caravan park in Amroth, Pembrokeshire.

Now, in an extremely rare decision, Judge Jarman has ruled that Mr Hodge failed to match up to his responsibilities to his long-term partner.

And he effectively re-wrote the wealthy businessman's will by awarding Mrs Thompson a cottage on the estate worth £225,000 ($319,000).

She will also receive almost £190,000 ($269,000) in cash to pay for a refurbishment and to provide her with reasonable financial support.

Mr Hodge, who suffered from prostate cancer, made more than 10 wills before his death, the High Court in Cardiff heard.

In hospital shortly before he died, he told Mrs Thompson 'not to worry as she would be well looked after', said the judge.

But, in the last will he signed in December 2016, Mr Hodge left everything he had to tenants, Karla Evans and Agon Berisha, who worked on the caravan park.

The parents of two young children rented a house from Mr Hodge, doing unpaid errands for him and helping him with his shopping.

When asked, Karla said she didn't want to be a millionaire and would be happy with an annual holiday and enough money to bring up her kids.

estate cottage460Judge Jarman said that, even after his ruling, the couple would receive 'by far the major part' of Mr Hodge's seven-figure estate.

But the landowner's belief that Mrs Thompson would need no financial support after his death was simply a 'mistake', he said.

She and her son moved into a caravan in the 70s and into the farmhouse with Mr Hodge soon afterwards.

Joan worked on the farm and on the caravan site without pay and helped care for Mr Hodge's mother, said the judge.

They were together for over 40 years and, after Mr Hodge's health began to fail, she acted as his main carer.

Since her husband's death, her only income had been benefits of little more than £1,000 per month.

Mrs Thompson, who gave evidence from a wheelchair, said she was determined to leave the nursing home and return to the family estate.

Granting her wish, Judge Jarman said that, by disinheriting her, Mr Hodge had failed to meet the 'obligations and responsibilities' he owed her.

He ordered that a property called Elidyr Cottage should be transferred to her, where she can be looked after by her son, Dean, and his wife.

  • Countries: United_Kingdom

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