Gerry Rafferty's girlfriend loses battle for inheritance

Gerry Rafferty's funeralDanny Lawson/PA Wire

When 'Baker Street' singer Gerry Rafferty died last year at the age of 63, he had been with his girlfriend, Enza Fuschini, 58, of Dorset, for two years. When he passed away she decided to keep guitars and artworks which she said he had given to her, and laid claim to a number of other items. Her problem was that none of this had been in writing, and she hadn't been mentioned at all in the late singer's will.

Now a court has decided she should get nothing but a huge legal bill
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The case

Fuschini had been entirely left out of Rafferty's £1.2 million will. She said that he had given her three valuable guitars, 13 Matisse lithographs and 22 Russian icons. She also said some items had been bought for the pair to use together, including a Steinway piano, electric keyboard, antique furniture and a Mercedes. They were all kept at the rented home that the couple shared.

However, the will's executors decided to take her to court for their return. His daughter Martha, of Minchinhampton, Gloucestershire and Russell Roberts, a lawyer and friend, went to the High Court.
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Roberts said that before his death, Rafferty had asked for some of the items back and been very clear that he had made no gifts. He also highlighted that Fuschini initially said she owned 11 guitars, before changing her mind.

The judge recognised that there was no proof that the gifts had been made, she also said it was significant that Fuschini had only laid claim to the items after Rafferty died. She added that Fuschini should return the items (which will now go to Rafferty's granddaughter) and pay the court costs - an astonishing £75,000.

Vital lessons

It goes to show just how unpleasant and complicated things can become after someone dies - especially when there are large sums of money involved. As we reported, a case regarding Bernard Matthews' will came to court last month, and despite his express and clear wishes for his French property to go to his long-term mistress, the courts gave the property to his adopted children.

It means that not only is it essential that we write a will, but also that we do so very carefully to ensure that if something should go awry, there are no grounds for anyone to fight over your estate.

It means, for example, that you should take particular care to sign your will in the presence of both witnesses. It may be tempting to cut corners, but in a case in September last year one witness admitted that they signed later, and the will was thrown out.

Another common claim is that someone exerted 'undue influence' when you were drafting the will. This is tough to prove, but you need to be clear with everyone about the decisions you are making and the reasons for them. The more that people have a chance to raise concerns during your lifetime, the less likely they will do so after your death.

There are also problems that can arise when the main beneficiary is closely involved in preparing the will. Someone could claim, for example, that you didn't have sufficient knowledge or approval, and the will would be nullified on that count.

It's worth, therefore, taking your time and using an expert where possible, to make sure everything is clarified and legal, so that even if your will makes waves, you should still have your wishes adhered to.

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The dead celebrity rich list
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Gerry Rafferty's girlfriend loses battle for inheritance

King of pop Jackson was rumoured to have financial problems when he died in June 2009.

However, his music shot back into the charts as soon as he was no longer around to make any more and it is estimated that Jackson has sold well over 10 million albums since his death at the age of 50.

As a result - according to the latest figures from Forbes Magazine - Jackson's estate made an incredible $170 million (£108 million) in the 12 months to October 2011.

Presley's estate, which is thought to be worth about £1 billion, has generated many millions from music royalties, licensing deals and tourism at Graceland since his death in 1977, aged 42.

And it continues to earn about $55 million a year, partly thanks to posthumous appearances in adverts for products including Apple's iMac to Lipton's Tea.

Monroe is one of the most iconic stars of all time. And despite dying in 1962, her curvaceous image is used to sell everything from Visa to Volkswagen.

When she died, aged 36, her estate was valued at £1 million. However, the Forbes figures indicate that it earned a massive $27 million in the 12 months to October 2011.

The Beatle's estate has earned vast sums since he was shot dead in New York in 1980.

It was valued at about £100 million at the time of his death, but is since estimated to have grown by a further £200 million. And according to the latest Forbes list, it still makes $12 million a year.

The Nirvana singer, who committed suicide in 1994 at the age of 27, continues to be an iconic figure for many fans.

And his songs are still bringing in huge amounts of cash. In 2006, Cobain's widow Courtney Love sold 24.5% of the grunge band's publishing catalogue for a rumoured £35 million.

Not all the celebrities on the list are singers or film stars. Crime writer Christie has also amassed a huge fortune since her death in 1976, aged 85.

Her books continue to fill shelves around the world, while the immense popularity of her sleuths Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple have made her the bestselling author of all time, according to The Guinness Book Of Records.

However, his music shot back into the charts as soon as he was no longer around to make any more and it is estimated that Jackson has sold well over 10 million albums since his death at the age of 50.
As a result - according to the latest figures from Forbes Magazine - Jackson's estate made an incredible $170 million (£108 million) in the 12 months to October 2011.

Einstein died in 1955 at the age of 76, but the dead scientist is still raking in $10 million a year, according to Forbes Magazine.

His image has been used to advertise everything from McDonald's Happy Meals to the Toyota Prius.

The reggae singer died of cancer aged 36 in 1981. But the Marley family has continued to receive massive royalties from his musical catalogue.

It includes the best-selling album "Legend", which alone is believed to have earned them more than £10 million since his death.

The American rapper was just 25 when he was killed in Las Vegas in 1996.

However, his untimely death has not stopped him becoming the most successful hip-hop artist ever, selling more than 75 million albums worldwide. His estate is thought to earn about £4 million a year from his back catalogue.

The Hollywood star, who started her career at the tender age of 10, died in March 2011 at the age of 79.

By October of that year, according to Forbes Magazine, the value of her estate had swelled by about $12 million.

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