Didn’t he do well…


Bruce Forsyth passed away on 18 August 2017

The TV legend’s will is expected to say he has left his entire fortune to third wife and former Miss World, the mother of his only son JJ.

Bequeathing the cash to his 59-year-old widow means his estate will be exempt from a massive inheritance tax bill.

Current law states spouses and civil partners can pass all their wealth to each other without it being taxed – a huge Brucie Bonus for Lady Forsyth-Johnson.

“However on Mrs Forsyths death their estate will then be assessed for Inheritance Tax at 40%” “Think about your own situation for a moment what does your will say?” 

It is believed Bruce’s Puerto Rican widow will distribute a chunk of his estate among his five other children, nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Wilnelia – now the sole director of Bruce’s private company – will be able to give up to £650,000 in gifts tax-free to Bruce’s relatives under the current law.

“The £650,000 is based upon their joint Nil Rate bands this is the amount of your estate that is exempt from Inheritance Tax – unfortunately Bruce and Wilnelia didn’t qualify for the Residential Nil Rate Band – this is an extra allowance currently £125,000 per adult – do you know if you qualify for the extra allowance?”

A source said: “Bruce hated the idea of his estate getting devalued by inheritance tax and spoke about that publicly before his death, but leaving everything to Wilnelia means he avoids inheritance tax.”

Strictly speaking this is correct but without a proper estate plan in addition to a carefully drafted will – all of Bruce’s assets are still exposed to Marriage after Death, Bankruptcy, Long-term Care Costs and Divorce and of course Inheritance Tax. Do you know if your current estate plan mitigates the above risks? 

“He is likely to have done that as he trusted her to distribute the wealth among their relatives, and because she can give a significant amount away tax-free to their family, it means they end up with more.”

Bruce who died aged 89 surrounded by Wilnelia and his children, once said that the levy was “over the top”.

The keen political anorak – who used to record Prime Minister’s Questions so he would never miss it said in 2015: “I think your inheritance should go to your children more than back to the country that you’ve lived in.”

“I’m not saying you don’t owe the country something, of course you owe your country a lot for living there all those years. But I think it can be a bit over the top.”

Bruce had three daughters – Debbie, Julie and Laura – with first wife Penny Calvert, a former dancer with whom he split in 1973.

Do you think your estate and assets should go to your children or back to your country?

That year, the TV host married Anthea Redfern, his hostess on The Generation Game, and the couple had two daughters, Charlotte and Louisa.

Their six-year marriage ended following allegations of infidelity.

Bruce’s company Bruce Forsyth Enterprises, that handled his huge TV earnings, is worth more than £6.2million.

The TV host and Wilnelia were the company’s only directors, leaving her now in charge of its operation.

Bruce’s limited Company may also be liable to Inheritance Tax either immediately or when his wife Wilnelia passes away – the Inheritance Tax can be saved on business assets at either 100% or 50% of the Inheritance Tax rate- Do you own a business or are you a shareholder of a business.? Make sure you qualify for Business Relief on any property and buildings, unlisted shares and machinery.

Bruce and Wilnelia married in 1983 after the TV presenter fell in love with the ex-beauty pageant queen when they co-judged 1980’s Miss World contest.

The couple lived in a house near the Wentworth golf course in Surrey worth an estimated £4 million.

Brucie was estimated to be worth £17 million by financial magazine Spears.

Along with the £10 million worth of his company and mansion, he was thought to charge at least £25,000 for personal appearances and after dinner speeches.

He was reportedly paid £500,000 for writing Bruce: The Autobiography in 2001 and he owns two properties in his widow’s native Puerto Rico thought to be worth £2 million.

He is also thought to have £4 million in private savings, investments and assets such as jewellery and antiques.

Generational Inheritance Tax (no pun intended) could have a massive impact on Bruce’s estate passing from him to his wife their children and their children’s children could see Bruce’s estate be reduced by 73% due to unnecessary Inheritance Tax – this also applies to you too – are you happy that HMRC can keep on putting their hands into your family pot?

Even though he was long past retirement age Bruce never claimed his basic pension, which will now also pass to his widow to handle.

For the eighth series of hit BBC show Strictly Come Dancing he agreed to a £160,000 pay cut, reportedly getting paid £500,000 for the 2010 run.

But he had always been a high-earning star – in 1958 when hosting the popular TV show Saturday Night At The London Palladium, his £1,000-per-week wage made him one of Britain’s highest earning entertainers at the time.

Just days before he died, Bruce had cracked gags about his illness.

His manager revealed in a statement released on Friday that he told a friend: “I’ve been very, very busy… being ill!”

Bruce holds the Guinness World Record of longest television career for a male entertainer at more than 75 years.


  • NET WORTH £17 million
  • Private company £6.2 million
  • Surrey mansion £4 million
  • Savings and other assets £4 million
  • Two properties in Puerto Rico £2 million
  • Autobiography Fee £500,000
  • Strictly Pay Per Series £500,000
  • After Dinner Speaking £25,000 a pop
  • State pension £97.65/week. Never claimed

One final thing to consider here are probate fees, this is another hefty cost most people aren’t aware of. Following a death you will need to get a Grant of Probate – this is an official document giving you the right to deal with a deceased person’s estate – Probate is charged on assets you own personally – not jointly – or those assets that are not held in trust.

What assets do you own personally – these can be protected from probate costs that can run into 10’s of thousands of pounds – Bruce’s probate fees certainly will- don’t let that happen to your assets.

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“It’s never too early – but it’s often too late!!!”

Death: 18 August 2017


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