They left how much?
20 January 2016 by Anastasia Packman
We often see articles in newspapers telling us how much many famous people have left when they have died, who benefitted and we can even get an idea of the things left, for example, Anne Kirkbride (Deidre in Corrie) left £103,000 to her husband David. Sometimes things are a lot more complicated such as the £22 million left by crime writer PD James which went to lots of different people and charities and even included a beach hut!
How do people know this? The short answer is that if an estate has to have probate then the papers get the information from the Probate Registry as most documents are public knowledge (except those for a few senior Royals) and this is not just limited to the papers, anyone can apply for a copy of the legal documents.
The figures may not be the whole story as they only show broadly what was in a persons sole name so when you hear someone has left nothing (for example, Jeremy Lloyd, the co-writer of ‘Allo ‘Allo) there could have been assets in the joint names of that person and someone else such as Jeremy’s wife Lizzy. Even an estate of £1 million such as that left by the former Radio 1 DJ Mike Smith could have been greater if he and his wife Sarah Greene had had joint assets.
So next time you see articles in papers you’ll know how the papers found out.