Will saves Duke of Argyll from £12m death duties

THE late Duke of Argyll left only £100,000 in his will and saved his heir almost £12 million in death duties, despite being known as one of Britain’s richest men.

Ian Campbell, the 12th Duke of Argyll and head of the Clan Campbell died last April during open heart surgery. His recently published will revealed his wife, Iona, as beneficiary for his personal estate. But his title and the seat of his ancestral home, Inveraray Castle, have passed to his son Torquil, the former Marquis of Lorne.

The title’s assets, which include the family home, its grounds and an extensive collection of fine furniture is estimated to be worth 30 million and has been placed in trusts. By doing so, the legacy was not subject to inheritance tax.

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John MacDonald, a taxation manager at Glasgow based solicitors, Blair Caddell said that the move was not an uncommon occurrence among the landed gentry.

He said: “I am not surprised the Duke’s real assets such as the castle are held in a trust for the benefit of future generations.

“This will safeguards the family heritage and guarantee some kind of provision that will ensure the estate is not sold off or lost to the family. If the estate was not held in trust and we accept that it is worth 30 million then the family have saved themselves 12 million in tax.”

The Campbell clan’s wealth dates back about 800 years and was derived from their control of lands around Loch Awe.

Torquil, 31, works in the whisky industry in Hong Kong and earlier this year married a Eleanor Cadbury, of the chocolate making family.

The late duke inherited his title in 1974 and is believed to have been hit for a massive death duty bill shortly after taking over the 70,000 acre estate.