Woman who accompanied her husband to Dignitas will inherit his £18 million estate

Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Chief Master Matthew Marsh, the High Court judge who made the ruling, was told that Mrs Ninian had tried to dissuade her husband from taking his own life, had contacted the police and helped with their inquiries, and had not been prosecuted. The retired businessman had been diagnosed with progressive supranuclear palsy in 2013. He had difficulty swallowing, could not move his eyes, had poor mobility and rarely spoke.  He had instructed lawyers to prepare a statement in which he said his wife had been opposed to his decision, had not pressurised him to make it and only accompanied him to Zurich because he could not travel there unaided.The couple, who married in 1983, lived in London together and had no children.Mrs Ninian told the judge: “A few months before his death, I asked him if he got any enjoyment out of life at all and he gave me the thumbs down.”I spent a year trying to get Alex to change his mind but he was solid in his decision that he wanted to be dignified to the end, which is why he chose to end his life. He faced a future that he did not want.”Alex was my soulmate for 40 years and it is very hard to cope with losing him. Everything that I did for him I did because he asked me to, and because I loved and cared for him too much to refuse.” A woman who accompanied her husband to Dignitas can claim his £1.8 million estate, a High Court judge has ruled in a test case.Sarah Ninian, 63, travelled with her husband Alex, 84, to the famous Switzerland clinic in November 2017 after he was diagnosed with a progressive incurable disease and was unable to get there by himself.Mrs Ninian, who was named as the sole beneficiary in her husband’s will, could have been blocked access to his estate, worth an estimated £1.8 million, because of laws barring inheritance when a beneficiary has been involved in a person’s “unlawful killing”.But at a High Court hearing today she successfully applied for the so-called “forfeiture rule” to be waived or modified in her case.Solicitor Gary Rycroft, from Lancaster-based firm Joseph A. Jones & Co, told The Telegraph that it could be a test case which will lead to greater transparency when people accompany their relatives to suicide clinics but are not charged with any offences.”It could reassure people that they can come forward and not worry that they will be cut out of their loved-ones’ inheritance,” he said. read more