Cilla Black’s £15 million estate split between her three sons and housekeeper

Cilla Black splits £15 million between her three sons and housekeeper
Details of Cilla Black’s will have emerged, with the singer and TV personality splitting £15 million between her three sons.

The Liverpool-born entertainer also left £20,000 to her 72 year old housekeeper of 30 years, Penny Walker, who according to one source Cilla “treated her like family”.

Cilla Black was a millionaire by her mid twenties, and left a complex and varied portfolio of properties across the world, from Liverpool to her house in Buckinghamshire, to more exotic properties in Barbados and the home she died in, in Estepona in Andalusia, southern Spain.

According to Andrew Eastwood of Legal4Spain, the estate she left behind was typical of many expats, but Spain’s legal system can offer unique challenges when it comes to tax efficiency for British immigrants.

Andrew said: “The number banded around is about a million Spanish properties between husbands, wives and children. We work with UK nationals with property across Spain which is mostly on the Costa del Sol, so Malaga and Marbella, then on the east coast near Valencia, Alicante and Benidorm. As well as those, we then cover a few in the Canaries and the Balearic Isles, there aren’t too many inland, most like to be on the coast unless they’re working in Madrid or Barcelona.

“Cilla Black’s house was typical of that era, near Marbella, her house was out in Estepona, we were actually at a concert within shouting distance on the day she died, it was baking that day.

“When people buy Spanish property, it’s recommended they sign a Spanish will naming a beneficiary and that’s despite the recent changes in EU legislation.

“Another issue is that when it comes to taxation, it’s different when there’s a Spanish property involved as it’s an individual’s inheritance that’s taxed rather than the estate as a whole, so you have to plan the estate carefully to be tax efficient.

“In the UK, spouse to spouse is tax free, but that isn’t applicable so succession planning is important

Andrew qualified as a Solicitor 25 years ago but has practised exclusively as a will writer since 2003 .

Andrew continued: “We work with the Society of Will Writers mainly, and we work for their members when their clients have Spanish properties, as well as Solicitors and Notaries Public throughout the UK where the clients have Spanish properly. We also have an association with a firm across the Mediterranean in Italy named Legal4Italy that’s being developed with a group of lawyers in Italy, while France is the next one we’re working on now, but my personal interest is Spain.

“I’m based in the UK now, the business has been going for about ten years and I’m back and forth, we’re regulated by the Society of Will Writers as the UK; it makes sense as the UK is where we source our work, then we have Spanish case lawyers and accountants.

“Part of our service is it’s completely in our native language, in English to clearly explain things so there’s no confusion as far as the client is concerned, then we handle the language barrier, so the advice the client gets is completely clear.

“There are lots of extremely talented Spanish lawyers who do speak English, but it’s not at a level that’s easily understood, especially when it comes to technical and financial matters that aren’t even that familiar to clients in English.”

Today's Wills and Probate