Inheritance tax regulations left Body Shop creator's inheritance at 'nil'

Body shop owner Anita Roddick gave nothing to her children in her will before her untimely death at age 64.

Instead of leaving an estimated £51 million estate to her children, she gave the sum to charities for green issues, human rights and Third World debt.

The value of her estate upon her death was just £665,747 which was then "swallowed up" by inheritance tax, leaving nothing to her family, according to the Daily Mail.

Solicitors in Northern Ireland can help put estates in order to ensure that as much money as possible passes on to relatives.

The Inland Revenue's "seven year rule" means that inheritance tax does not have to be paid on monetary gifts if the donor survives for seven years after the gifts were given.

Dame Anita, who died from a brain haemorrhage, said that leaving money to family was "obscene" and left her two daughters, Sam and Justine, out of her will in 2005 after she made large profits from the sale of The Body Shop.

Anita and husband Gordon made more than £100 million for their 18 per cent share of the business that was sold to L'Oreal and her half of the profit was donated to the Roddick Foundation.

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