The comedy king of one-liners, Sir Ken Arthur Dodd OBE, left behind a truly remarkable legacy after his death on the 11th of March 2018, at the age of 90. Sir Ken Dodd’s long and successful career spanned over 60 years and he was often described as “the last great music hall entertainer”. Sir Ken lived in Knotty Ash in Liverpool for his entire life, and was even born and passed away in the same family home.
Almost one year after his death, further details of Sir Ken’s estate have now come to light. It has been revealed that his estate was reportedly worth £27.5 million, rather than the originally estimated value of £7.2 million. Additionally, it has been confirmed that Ken’s fortune will pass to his wife, which means that his estate will avoid a substantial Inheritance Tax bill.
Sir Ken’s death came just two days after marrying his partner of 40 years, Anne Jones. As the late in life marriage took place so close to Ken’s passing, it is rumoured that the star did not update his Will, resulting in his entire estate passing to his wife by default. This highlights an important lesson for members of the public as many people do not realise that getting married automatically revokes a Will.
If Ken and Anne had not married before his death, the estate could have paid up to £11 million in Inheritance Tax. Inheritance Tax (IHT) is a tax on a deceased person’s estate when the value of the estate is above the £325,000 threshold. The estate includes any property, money and possessions. However, if everything is left to a spouse or civil partner, a charity or a community amateur sports club then there’s normally no Inheritance Tax to pay.
Although Sir Ken reportedly did not have a valid Will at the time of his death, Lady Anne plans to honour her husband’s wishes and give back to the local community. Lady Anne said, “As his wife, beneficiary of his estate, and also knowing the contents of the Will he made some years ago, I will be able to honour his wishes.” She added, “He had no desire for the trappings of wealth and it was his wish that the majority of his estate will go to charities close to his heart, many of them local.” Lady Anne plans to support health charities, hospitals, animal charities and his local church. She’ll also continue developing the Ken Dodd Charitable Foundation that he founded.
Sir Ken Dodd’s estate raises some important considerations for others when it comes to leaving behind your own legacy. A valid Will that clearly outlines your wishes can offer clarity, avoid family disputes and protect your estate from excessive legal and tax costs.
Kings Court Trust are experts in estate administration; the process of finalising a loved one’s legal and tax affairs after they’ve passed away. With our unrivalled knowledge of estate administration, we can advise on any situation. If you have any questions, call our Client Services Team on 0300 303 9000.