Charities stand to lose out as Jimmy Savile estate is frozen

Nov 1, 2012

With claims for damages anticipated, NatWest blocks the distribution of Savile’s estate

CHARITIES and individuals expecting to receive bequests from Jimmy Savile could lose because the late TV star’s estate has been frozen in anticipation of lawsuits demanding damages for sex abuse victims. 

Savile’s will, written in 2006, nominates more than 25 separate beneficiaries, according to the Financial Times, who obtained a copy of the document.

Twenty relatives, neighbours and friends were due to receive £1,000 cash each. An additional £600,000 was intended to be held in a trust fund, with interest divided up between eight individuals.

The majority, totalling £3.7 million before expenses, was destined to be retained by NatWest bank – the executor and trustee – for the Jimmy Savile Charitable Trust.

One individual who was a designated recipient of an endowment in the will told the FT that he no longer anticipated receiving his bequest, adding, “If I did, I would probably give it away.”

NatWest yesterday confirmed the freeze, saying in a statement, “Given the claims raised, distribution of the estate has been put on hold.”

Among the beneficiaries were trustees of Savile’s charities, as well as current and ex-employees of Leeds General Infirmary and Broadmoor. Both hospitals are currently in the midst of investigations into allegations that Savile committed sex offences on their premises.

One person mentioned in the Savile will was Sue Hymns, who in an attempt to quash rumours of Savile’s sexual misbehaviour, revealed last year that she and Savile had been romantically involved for 43 years. The will allocated £1,000 to her, but misspelled her surname.

A solicitor who specialises in abuse claims, Emma Jones, told the FT that damages claims in sex abuse cases commonly fetch pay-outs ranging from £2,000 to £20,000 pounds, but could be much higher, depending on the nature of the abuse and its psychological consequences for the victim in adulthood.

With up to 300 people claiming to have been abused by Savile, it is conceivable the entire fortune could be taken up with meeting their compensation claims.

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