Sir Ken Dodd's death puts spotlight on inheritance tax rules

Sir Ken Dodd's widow Ann is set to avoid a tax bill of up to £2 million after the comedian married her two days before his death. Previously Ann Jones, she had been his partner for 40 years. However, provided Sir Ken's will has passed all his estimated £7.2 million estate on to her, she will have no inheritance tax to pay as a surviving spouse. Sir Ken died on 11th March at the age of 90.

It may come as a reminder to couples that marital status can play a major part in determining inheritance tax liabilities. Had the couple not wed, Mrs Jones would have faced a bill of up to 40% of the inherited amount. 

The wedding may be seen as the comedian having the last laugh against HMRC, 29 years after he was charged with evading £1 million in tax. Sir Ken's trial - at which he was cleared of all charges - came after it was discovered he had kept more than £300,000 hidden in used notes under his bed.