Gillian Taylforth to get nothing from ex-fiancé's estate

Soap Awards/Taylforth/Knight
Soap Awards/Taylforth/Knight

Eastenders actress Gillian Taylforth won't get a penny following the death of her ex-fiancé Geoff Knights, as he hadn't made a will.

The soap star was with Knights for 23 years, until they split in 2009, and had two children with him: 23-year-old Jessica and Harrison, aged 16. The relationship was a rocky one, with Taylforth needing three stitches in her scalp after Knights beat her up on their 20th anniversary.

She now lives with fiancé Dave Fairbairn, 60.

Aged just 58, Knights died in November 2013 of a stomach cancer that had been diagnosed only three months earlier. And, because he and Taylforth weren't married and he hadn't made a will, his estate will be shared by the couple's children.

Despite once having made a fortune with a chain of photocopying shops, Knights left less than £22,000.

He's far from alone in not having got round to writing a will - fewer than half of British adults have, according to a survey last October. Most people say they are too young to worry about it, while many more think they don't have enough assets to make it worthwhile.
"Writing a will clearly has significant emotional implications, so it's likely that people delay doing it through a mixture of denial and simply not getting around to it," says Karen Barrett, chief executive of financial advice service

But, she adds, "People should also remember that it's simple, inexpensive, and saves families from a significant amount of extra stress. Now that pension freedom has completely rewritten the rule book on what can and cannot be inherited, making your wishes legally binding has never been more essential."

It's particularly important in the case of unmarried couples: while many people believe they have rights as a 'common-law' spouse, this isn't actually the case. Instead, the estate will go to relatives, with children at the top of the list. The Citizens Advice Bureau has the details, here.

And making a will needn't be difficult. If your financial affairs are particularly straightforward, you can even do it using a £15 form, available from the likes of WH Smith.

For more security, a solicitor will charge around £100-£300 for a reasonably simple will.

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