RICHARD EDEN: How Fay Weldon left just £210K to her sons after death

RICHARD EDEN: How acclaimed novelist Fay Weldon left just £210,000 to her sons after her death at 91 despite her commercial successes

She made light of degradations endured in early adulthood – including being a tenant of slum landlord Peter Rachman – to become an acclaimed novelist whose most celebrated work, The Life and Loves of a She-Devil, was dramatised both as a television series and for the big screen, starring Meryl Streep and Roseanne Barr.

Yet, despite further huge commercial successes – three more of her books were adapted for television – the dazzling, inimitable Fay Weldon, who died in January aged 91, left just £210,000, I can disclose.

According to newly published probate documents, there were no bequests to friends and wider family – such as her second cousin, the Fawlty Towers star Prunella Scales. Instead, almost everything was bequeathed to her three surviving sons, Nic, Daniel and Sam, and to the children and step-daughter of her son Tom, whose death in 2019 caused her intense pain.

Intriguingly, the will, which Fay signed in February 2020, also mentions the third and last of her husbands, Nick Fox, whom, only eight months later, she accused of ‘coercive control and financial mismanagement’. Those were the reasons, she explained in an email to friends, that she was divorcing him.

But the will stipulates that her trustees – sons Nic and Daniel – were to ensure that the 1840 house in Dorset, where she and Fox lived, was to be held in trust for him for the rest of his life.

Novelist: The dazzling, inimitable Fay Weldon, who died in January aged 91, left just £210,000, I can disclose

Divorced: Fay and Nick Fox, who she accused of ‘coercive control and financial mismanagement’

As things transpired, it had been sold during their divorce proceedings, as Fox explains. ‘Her family went to a judge for an adjudication. Both sides have to pay for that,’ he tells me, adding that the adjudication was that the proceeds from the sale of the house were ‘split down the middle’.

He adds: ‘I put her name on my house, which I inherited, so she could secure her debts.’

Fox met Weldon when he was 45 and she was 60. They married in 1994 and appeared to be happy. Indeed, they were, says Fox, until ‘five years ago. She’d been on Hormone Therapy Replacement Therapy for 36 years – and they suddenly took her off it. She became a different personality.’

Fox strongly denies these claims, calling the allegations ‘a calumny’. 

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