Celebrity Estate Lessons – John Lennon

John Lennon

John Lennon married Cynthia Powell in 1962 after she became pregnant with his first child, Julian. While they were married, John established a Trust fund with £250,000 in it for Julian to inherit when he turned 25. Then, he met Yoko, and Cynthia divorced him in 1968 when, after arriving home from a Grecian holiday, she found Yoko living in their home. As part of the divorce proceedings, a second Trust valued at £100,000 was put in place. John Lennon only gave them £75,000, claiming they weren’t worth any more than that. To put this into perspective, The White Album was released in 1968, and Sgt. Pepper’s was in 1967, so this wasn’t a case of divorce while the band was still struggling to find a foothold. He and Yoko were married in 1969 and they moved to New York in 1971.

After the divorce, John and Julian became estranged, although they reportedly started to repair their relationship shortly before John’s death. This may have stemmed from encouragement by May Pang, his companion for a time while he and Yoko were estranged. However, this reunion didn’t extend to John including Julian in his Will.

Whether this was intentional or not, we’ll never know. Julian (and many others) believe Yoko influenced John to prefer his second son, Sean. Sean was born to Yoko in 1975. This undue influence was the basis of Julian’s case when he filed suit against Yoko looking to recoup some of John’s £220 million estate. After 16 years of battle in the courts, it was reported that Julian received £20 million to drop the claim. At least some of this money went to buying back family heirlooms at auction, including a letter between Julian and his dad.

I suppose the silver lining in this scenario is that Julian and Sean have become close over the years.

If John had specifically wanted to exclude Julian, there are ways to do that, and it could have at least shortened the legal process. Additionally, there are ways to assist in proving that undue influence isn’t being wielded by spouses or other family members. This is why having a legal professional draft the documents is so important! Get in touch and we can help you craft the perfect estate plan for you!