Lucian Freud's son fails in High Court battle over artist's £42m secret trust

The painter, who had 14 children, left none of them any money

One of Lucian Freud’s children has failed in a High Court bid to wrestle control over a secret trust worth £42m left on the artist’s death.

The painter, who had 14 children, left none of them any money. His fortune was worth £96 million, and his west London house and a sum of £2.5 million were left to his assistant David Dawson.

The rest of the estate after other legacies and tax — which was about £42 million — was left to a secret trust run by Diana Rawstron, a solicitor, and Rose Pearce, one of Freud’s daughters.

Freud’s obsessive secrecy ensured that only two people would know the destination of his fortune.

His son Paul Freud, 55, also an artist, challenged the legality of the arrangement in the High Court.

He claimed that that part of the will would be legally invalid if Lucian Freud did not leave specific instructions to the trustees, which would mean the artist died intestate with regard to the £42 million. The money would then have to be divided between his relatives.

However Rawstron, Lucian’s solicitor for 25 years, and Pearce asked for a legal declaration that a provision of the 2006 will made them absolutely entitled to Freud's residuary estate.

Giving his ruling in London, Deputy Judge Richard Spearman concluded that the interpretation put forward by Ms Rawstron and Ms Pearce was to be preferred, and therefore the executrice's claim was successful, in the light of the words used by Lucian Freud in his will and the will's overall purpose.

Spearman said that in his long and successful life, Freud achieved international recognition as an outstanding painter and draughtsman and also lived a very full private life.

He added that, although at one time disputed by Ms Rawstron and Ms Pearce, it was accepted, at least for these proceedings, that the defendant, Paul Freud, was another of the artist's children, who numbered “at least 14”. Paul Freud was one of four children from the artist’s relationship with the artist Katherine McAdam.

Ms Rawstron and Ms Pearce contended that the gift of residue was subject to a trust imposed by Freud but they refused to disclose its terms.

Video: The life of Lucian Freud

The judge said: “Indeed, one of their purposes in taking the course that they have adopted in these proceedings is to avoid revealing the terms of that trust to the defendant, on the basis this would go against Lucian Freud's wishes. However they have informed the defendant that he is not a beneficiary of the trust.

“The defendant's case is that, on a proper construction of the will, Lucian Freud's residuary estate was not given to the claimants for their absolute benefit, but instead was given to them to hold on trusts which are not set out in the will. On that basis, any trust imposed on the residuary estate can only have been a half secret trust.”

He added that, because of the different requirements for creation of a valid half secret trust in comparison to a fully secret trust, Paul Freud would then wish to explore whether any valid half secret trust was created or whether there was an intestacy of the residue - which would mean he would be entitled to a share of it.

But, if Ms Rawstron and Ms Pearce were right, his only claim for provision from the estate arose under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, under which a relative can make a claim if an individual has not made proper provision for them in a will.

Ultimately the judge sided with the case put forward by Ms Rawstron and Ms Pearce, who sought a ruling that they were “both absolutely entitled” to the residue of Freud’s estate.

ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

COO / Chief Operating Officer

£80 - 100k + Bonus: Guru Careers: A COO / Chief Operating Officer is needed to...

HR Manager - Kent - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...

HR Manager - Edgware, London - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - Edgware, Lon...

HR Manager - London - £40,000 + bonus

£32000 - £40000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits