But Mr Justice Mostyn ruled she cannot go beyond her husband’s will – which provided her with £435,000 in the first year after he died and now a regular monthly payout from the trust funds, amounting to around £240,000 a year (£20,000 a month).
Mr Cowan set aside £1million to support his children, stepchildren and grandchildren, but made Mary Jane the ‘principle beneficiary’ of one of the funds for her lifetime.
Her barrister, Penelope Reed QC, had argued that the tycoon did not make ‘reasonable provision’ for her from his estate, because she has been left ‘very little by way of assets in her own name’.
Giving his ruling, Justice Mostyn said: “The argument of Miss Reed QC is that because Mary Jane does not have outright ownership of the assets and therefore absolute control of them, she is – as she put it – ‘at the mercy of the trustees’, who could cut her adrift with no access to money at all,’ he said.
“I have to say that I completely disagree…
“I have to make the…assessment as to whether the trustees will honour Michael’s wishes and ensure that every reasonable need of Mary Jane is met until her death.”