Celebrity Estate Planning - Queen Elizabeth - Episode 65
Hey there, Legal Tea Listeners! This is your host, Jenny Rozelle. Today, we’re on the “estate planning of the rich and famous” topic and I figured it’d be interesting to dive into what’s likely to happen following the passing of Queen Elizabeth, who just recently passed away on September 8, 2022. Many people are fascinated with the Royal Family, and while many are fascinated, it’d also be appropriate to mention that the Royal Family comes with some … not-great things, too, in our history books. For that, as always, I try to stay fact-based here on Legal Tea, so I think it’d be inappropriate if I didn’t mention the things in the history books that are directly related to the Royal Family. If you care to learn more, I’d encourage you to do research. Anyway, nonetheless, today is “estate planning of the rich and famous” – and I think all could agree that Queen Elizabeth is 1) rich and 2) famous.
Before we talk about who is supposedly going to get what, let’s get our “people” straight, in case you don’t keep up with the Royal Family. So, Queen Elizabeth is actually Queen Elizabeth II, as she was the first child of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth; though, because she’s reigned for so long, people informally call her Queen Elizabeth (even though technically she’s the II). According to a Yahoo Life article written by Jason Pham, she began her reign in 1952 when she was a mere 25 years old, due to the passing of her father. Prior to her becoming the Queen, she married Phillip Mountbatten, who was a former prince of Greece and Denmark, and they married in November 1947. Phillip died just over a year before Elizabeth died; he died in April 2021. Together, they had four children, Charles (now, King Charles); Anne; Andrew; and Edward.
Following Elizabeth’s rather surprising passing on September 8, 2022, people started whispering, “Well who is going to inherit the fortune … the money … the houses … the jewelry …” Unfortunately for us, but fortunately for her family, her estate plan is not public, but according to the Yahoo Life article, there have been numerous reports who-will-inherit-what. And that’s what we’re here for, right?! Well, this handy-dandy Yahoo Life article breaks down inheritances based on person – so let’s just follow their lead and go person-by-person, shall we? Starting with now-King Charles…
Now-King Charles, for starters, will inherit the Sovereign Grant, which is a fund funded by taxpayers to the Royal Family. Interestingly, if you’re a history buff, you may enjoy this … so how did this all get started? Well, the Sovereign Grant “originated from an agreement made by King George III in 1760, who agreed to surrender his income from Parliament to receive a set annual payment for himself and future generations of the British Royal Family.” Furthermore, in regards to this Sovereign Grant, “the British Royal Family receives a grant in exchange for surrendering their profits from the Crown Estate, the family’s collection of lands and holdings worth $19 Billion, to the government.” The explanation continues “Each year, the reigning monarch receives 25 percent of the Crown Estate’s profits. The amount pays for property upkeep and utilities, the British Royal Family’s travel and Royal employee payroll.” Just to give you some numbers to chew on … “In 2021, the Crown Estate generated a net profit of $361 Million. The United Kingdom Treasury paid the Queen a Sovereign Grant of $100 Million, which is the equivalent of $1.50 from each person in the United Kingdom.”
Something else really interesting about the Sovereign passing from Elizabeth to Charles is that it’ll be … tax-free. Yep, you heard me right. No inheritance taxed will be owed by Charles. Here’s why… according to a NPR article, while regular citizens in the country have to pay inheritance tax (40% tax rate, specifically) when estates exceed 325,000 pounds (or about $374,000 USD), an agreement made in 1993 between the Monarchy and then-Prime Minister, John Major, stated that assets passing from a sovereign to their rightful successor are not subject to inheritance tax. Wow!
Let’s talk about what the other kiddos of Elizabeth, Anne, Andrew, and Edward, are likely to receive following here passing…
Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward
Well, if you thought that now-King Charles would keep to keep all of the Sovereign Grant, you’d be wrong. In fact, according to the Yahoo Life article, Anne, Andrew, and Edward will all receive a share of the Grant, even though it is “owned” now by Charles. The exact amount of their shares is not known – and may never be known.
Beyond the money, let’s talk about … Elizabeth’s corgis! I’m a dog person, so you better believe that I wondered what was going to happen to her beloved dogs. Well, according to a BBC article, Andrew is set to inherit the Queen’s two corgis, but it may be because Andrew and his 2 daughters, Beatrice and Eugenie, are the ones that gave the corgis to Elizabeth in the first place in 2021. They got Elizabeth the corgis to help cheer her up while Elizabeth’s husband, Philip, was in the hospital during the Covid-19 pandemic.
So, if you’re keeping track, Elizabeth had four children – Charles, Anne, Andrew, and Edward. Charles, since he is the oldest and first-born, became the King after Elizabth’s passing. At Charles’ passing, Charles’ oldest and first-born, William, will become the King. (Side note: Harry, who married Meghan Markle, is Charles’ other son.) So, just to clear things up, it does not go to Princess Anne, at Charles’ passing, it basically goes down the bloodline of the oldest. So, it’ll go Charles, then Charles’ son, William, and then at William’s passing, he and his wife, Kate, have three children – George, Charlotte, and Louis – so at William’s passing, George will become King. I know, it’s kind of confusing; hope you hung with me through that, if you didn’t know how that all worked!
Alright, back to King Charles’ son, William, and what he is likely to get from Elizabeth after her passing…
Prince William is set to receive the Duchy of Cornwall, which is a private estate worth, oh you know, around $1.2 Billion. It’s where King Charles lived prior to taking over. The estate, crazy enough, covers 140,000 acres in the United Kingdom. Whoa! According to the Yahoo Life article, the Duchy of Cornwall “was established in 1331 to financially support the heir to the throne. The Duchy of Cornwall – which will provide the income for Prince William and his wife, Kate, is funded through the ownership and operation of land in rural and urban areas, as well as islands and rental cottages in Wales, Cornwall, and other areas in the United Kingdom.”
So, it sounds like Prince William and Princess Kate are going to do just fine… Speaking of Princess Kate, what is she expected to get, you ask?
Princess Kate (William’s Wife)
According to a Radar Online article, Princess Kate is likely to inherit around $110 Million in jewelry from the Queen’s collection. To clarify, too, these pieces belonged to Elizabeth, personally, and not the Crown Estate. One piece of jewelry that is said to be not within the $110 Million in jewelry going to Kate is the “Spencer Tiara” (which is the diamond crown that Princess Diana wore in her wedding to now-King, then-Prince Charles. Supposedly, the tiara will be inherited by Kate and William’s daughter, Princess Charlotte. Good for little Charlotte! I love that little nod to her – well, maybe nod to her and nod to William’s biological mother, Diana, who passed away tragically in a car accident in 1997.
Now, let’s shift to Prince Harry…and Meghan Markle…
Oh, I’m sure a lot of you are on the edge of your seat about this. If you’ve lived under a rock, there has been A LOT of …. ummm … what’s a respectful way to put “drama” …. with the Royal Family, Prince Harry, and Meghan Markle. We don’t have time to dive into it during this episode, but speaking of what they’re set to likely get from Harry’s grandmother, Elizabeth… Well, it's rather unclear, is what experts/sources say. So I’m not sure what to say on this one. What we do know is that Harry and Meghan did a tell-all interview with Oprah in March 2021, which about made the world start spinning in a different direction. Though, something we learned from it was that Prince Harry used funds from the Trust he had following his mother’s passing, Princess Diana’s passing, after now-King, then-Prince Charles “cut him off financially at the start of 2020 following Harry and Meghan’s exit from the British Royal Family and move to the United States.”
Even though it’s rather unclear what Prince Harry will get from his grandmother, it is widely assumed that Meghan and her-and-Prince Harry’s two children, Archie and Lilibet, are likely to receive nothing of real value. There’s some whispers – like maybe they’ll get jewelry of really-no significant value or perhaps, Princess Kate may share the $110 Million in jewelry with her sister-in-law, Meghan, and niece, Lilibet. Will she? Who knows. Does she have to? Most definitely not.
As we wrap this episode up, it’s important to remember that Queen Elizabeth II just passed, so I’m certain more and more will come out – it’s just so new, so fresh. So, I tell you what, don’t come at me, if something ends up being slightly or, well even, massively wrong! Okay, let’s officially wrap this episode up – next week we’re back to a “cautionary tale” episode where we talk about real-life clients, real-life cases that I, or my office, have worked on. During that episode, we’re going to be talking about a client that, after presenting to my office a copy of their current Revocable Living Trust, we discovered not only was the document essentially a hunk of junk, but after doing some more research, we found out that the attorney that drafted it actually got suspended. For what, you ask? Well, you’ll just have to tune in next Tuesday, Legal Tea Listeners! Until then, take care and be well!