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Sir Ken Dodd's last laugh..at the taxman! Comedian who married two days before he died ensured his £27.5million fortune went to his new wife without paying a penny in inheritance tax

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 09/02/2019 Jake Hurfurt For The Daily Mail

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 25:  Liverpudlian comedy legend Ken Dodd OBE poses for a portrait after he officially opened the refurbished St John's Market on November 25, 2016 in Liverpool, England. Ken Dodd is still performing to packed auditoriums at the age of 89 and is renowned for over running on his shows by hours.  (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images) © 2016 Getty Images LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 25: Liverpudlian comedy legend Ken Dodd OBE poses for a portrait after he officially opened the refurbished St John's Market on November 25, 2016 in Liverpool, England. Ken Dodd is still performing to packed auditoriums at the age of 89 and is renowned for over running on his shows by hours. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images) Sir Ken Dodd had the last laugh over the taxman by marrying his long-time love two days before he died.

By tying the knot, the comedian ensured his £27.5million fortune went to his wife Anne Jones, 77 – without paying a penny in inheritance tax to HMRC.

Sir Ken avoided £11million of death duties on his estate in a final joke on the taxman Doddy battled in a court case 30 years ago.

Ken Dodd posing for the camera © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited

The comic died aged 90 in March last year after spending six weeks in hospital with a chest infection.

His last-minute marriage spared Mrs Jones a lengthy legal process to stake her claim to Sir Ken’s fortune as the star never wrote a will.

Despite only getting hitched days before his death, the couple were together for 40 years and never had children. Sir Ken’s £27.5 million fortune was four times larger than previous estimate of his wealth.

Rebecca Minto, a wills and tax expert at Slater & Gordon, told The Sun: ‘If you die without a will and you’re unmarried, things are much more complicated.’

a close up of a box: Sir Ken Dodd had the last laugh over the taxman by marrying his long-time love two days before he died. By tying the knot, the comedian ensured his £27.5million fortune went to his wife Anne Jones, 77 ¿ without paying a penny in inheritance tax to HMRC [File photo] © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Sir Ken Dodd had the last laugh over the taxman by marrying his long-time love two days before he died. By tying the knot, the comedian ensured his £27.5million fortune went to his wife Anne Jones, 77 ¿ without paying a penny in inheritance tax to HMRC [File photo]

If the pair had not married before Doddy’s death, Mrs Jones would have faced a 40 per cent inheritance tax bill on the estate which would have been around £11million.

In 1989, Sir Ken was acquitted of dodging a tax bill worth £1million.

Around £336,000 in cash was found hidden in suitcases in the attic of the Liverpool home where he was born, got married and died. The jury in the case heard how the TV legend had also concealed money in wardrobes, cupboards and under the stairs.

At his trial, which lasted three weeks, Sir Ken had Liverpool Crown Court in peals of laughter when the judge asked: ‘What does a hundred thousand pounds in a suitcase feel like?’ The reply came: ‘The notes are very light, M’Lord.’

Doddy’s barrister, George Carman QC, told jurors: ‘Some accountants are comedians, but comedians are never accountants.’

a large brick building: Around £336,000 in cash was found hidden in suitcases in the attic of the Liverpool home where he was born, got married and died. In 1989, Sir Ken was acquitted of dodging a tax bill worth £1million [File photo] © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Around £336,000 in cash was found hidden in suitcases in the attic of the Liverpool home where he was born, got married and died. In 1989, Sir Ken was acquitted of dodging a tax bill worth £1million [File photo] After his acquittal the comedian used his legal battle as material for his act. He famously joked: ‘I told the Inland Revenue I didn’t owe them a penny because I lived by the sea.’ He also joked that when income tax was introduced it was a mere 2p in every £1 earned, following it up with the punchline: ‘I thought it still was!’

After his trial Sir Ken capitalised on his notoriety by embarking on an Easter to Christmas run of shows at the London Palladium, using his new material from the tax evasion case.

Never having children was one of the star’s biggest regrets, with details about his attempts with Anne to conceive using IVF emerging as part of his trial.

He was awarded an OBE in 1982. In 2017 he was knighted by Prince William for services to entertainment and charity, after his ninth nomination for a gong over a 63-year career. 

Despite his millions, Sir Ken never lived a luxury lifestyle and was even known to drive home after gigs to save cash on hotel bills. Born in Knotty Ash, Liverpool, in 1927, Sir Ken was dubbed ‘the last of the great music hall entertainers’.

Gallery: Ken Dodd: Life in pictures [Photo Services]

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