Liz Bolshaw
Financial Times
05 December 2014

Artist Lucian Freud’s will illustrates the intricacies of secret trusts

"I used to find death much scarier when I was younger," the artist Lucian Freud once confided to a reporter. "I had more to lose."

Since death claimed Freud, however, the courts and the media have been preoccupied with the contents of his will - and the disputes it has provoked. Freud's estate, valued at about £42m after payment of debts and taxes, has been the subject of contentiou s litigation, and all because details of the final beneficiaries were kept outside the will in a secret trust.

The artist's final will, executed on May 10 2006, revoking a previous one written in 2004, left the entirety of his estate to his executrices - his daughter Rose Pearce and Diana Rawstron, his solicitor. While they were, they argued, left the bequest as an absolute gift, the gift was subject to a secret trust that set out who was to benefit from the estate. Its existence was, they said, quite separate from the will.

Unlike a will, which is a public document, a secret trust is private and allows a testator to keep confidential who finally benefits from his estate.

"The reason the Lucian Freud case attracted so much publicity is that [the use of a secret trust]is quite rare;' says Mark Keenan, a specialist in domestic and international trust and succession disputes at law firm Mishcon de Reya.

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