The Savile Legacy

Inheritance dispute solicitor, Hayley Blyth, considers the impact the current scandal could have on Jimmy Savile's estate

The last few weeks must have been very difficult for Jimmy Savile’s friends and family but the disgraced DJ’s estate has actually been dealing with legal problems since just after his death last October.

As the newspapers have reported, a 41 year old previously unacknowledged child of the television star has brought an inheritance claim against his estate.

The claim, made under the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act 1975, is based on the fact that she did not receive any provision from his £7.8 million estate. She claims that she should be entitled to such provision as Savile’s biological child. Section 1(1)(c) of the 1975 Act entitles children of the deceased to bring a claim for such financial provision as is required for their maintenance if the Court finds that it is unreasonable for no provision (or insufficient provision) to have been made.

Jimmy Savile’s estate is reportedly comprised of £4.3 million in bank accounts, a £2.5 million property portfolio and £1 million in other assets. Reports suggest that it is currently bequeathed under the terms of his Will as follows:-

  1. £600,000 into a Trust fund to be shared between six individuals thought to be close friends and family;
  2. £18,000 split equally between 18 friends;
  3. The remainder being left to the Jimmy Savile Charitable Trust.

The inheritance case is apparently made on the basis that the claimant’s mother, who was 19 at the time, met Jimmy Savile whilst working as a waitress in a café in Cannock. The relationship was apparently short lived but nine months later the claimant was born. The claimant’s mother told her that Jimmy Savile was her father when she was seven years old, but she didn’t make contact with him until 2010 when her attempts at contact were rebuffed by Mr Savile.

DNA tests were reportedly undertaken recently using items such as a lock of Mr Savile’s hair and his cigars, but these did not prove paternity. She is apparently now demanding further tests be undertaken and questions why further specific items were not tested.

If the inheritance claim proceeds it could result in the claimant receiving the entire estate as Savile is not understood to have any other children. The fact that she had no contact with him will not prevent the claim succeeding, particularly since the recent case of Illott v Mitson confirmed that even specific exclusion of an adult child from a Will is not a bar to bringing a successful claim.

Given the number of individuals now coming forward alleging they have had relations with Mr Savile the estate must surely wonder whether further secret children exist and if they do, whether they will now also seek legal advice upon their rights to bring a similar inheritance claim. In addition we suspect the trustees and beneficiaries will be worried the estate may be liable to pay compensation to Savile’s alleged abuse victims.

If you require free initial advise on an inheritance dispute or contested Will then call specialist solicitor, Hayley Blyth, on 0808 139 1599 for a free assessment.

And for advise on abuse compensation call our confidential hotline on 0333 888 0445 and speak to Samantha or James.

The Savile Legacy