Le Daily Mail nous rappelle que le niveau apparent de richesse n'est pas toujours l'indicateur d'une absence de fortune.
The £1.4m man: Amazing fortune of widower who owned just one suit, got by on £5 a week... and left a fortune to animal charities
Wearing the same old suit day in, day out, he couldn’t have looked less like a millionaire. But when Gordon Hardy died at 83, it turned out he wasn’t quite the poverty-stricken pensioner he had appeared to be.
The retired civil servant and his wife Jean, who died in 2008, did not have any children. And decades of saving and sensible investments had left the couple remarkably well-off.
However, it was only after Mr Hardy’s death that it emerged he was worth £1.4million.
Their solicitor, Lyndsey McHale, was the only person aware of the couple’s wealth.
Yesterday, she said: ‘Mr Hardy was a real gentleman, modest and old-fashioned, and you would never have guessed he was worth over £1million.
‘He always wore the same suit, and when he had to move into a nursing home it turned out they were the only clothes he owned.
Gordon Hardy and his wife lived a simple life, only owned one suit, and lived on £5 a week
‘I couldn’t believe it the first time he showed me the paper work about all the investments they had, but he just wasn’t interested in spending it.’
The couple, who were animal lovers, are believed to have worked in Derbyshire, where Mrs Hardy was a postmistress, before retiring to a bungalow in the seaside resort of Southport, Merseyside.
They wanted their estate to be split between three animal charities: the PDSA, the Blue Cross and the Donkey Sanctuary.
Neighbour Maureen Taylor, 60, said: ‘There were no signs at all that they had so much money.
'Jean was always out walking their poodle, Bobby, and I suppose they decided they wanted the money to help care for animals after they were gone.’
In 2006, they sold the bungalow for £250,000 and moved into sheltered accommodation, taking with them their collection of antiques, including a grandfather clock worth £4,000.
After Mrs Hardy died, her husband came to see their solicitor, a specialist in wills and probate at Brown Turner Ross.
‘He said his wife had always done the finances and gave me a scrap of paper with details of their savings on.
‘My first thought was, “That can’t be right!”, but it was all there – various bank and building society accounts plus a lot in National Savings certificates.
‘How it was built up we don’t know, but it seems they were just very careful with money.
‘I would always ask him if he wanted to buy anything or go anywhere and he would always say the same thing, “What do I need to spend money on?”.
Gordon and his wife sold their bungalow and moved into sheltered accommodation in later life
‘Later on he asked for £20 a month of which around £9 was for his electricity bills.’
Mr Hardy died in February. His solicitor added: ‘Sadly he never really recovered from his wife’s death, but at least their wealth will now go to benefit the causes they supported.’
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