The Estate of Michael Gambon

Dumbledore’s very own Chamber of Secrets…

The facts

Sir Michael Gambon, best known for his role as Dumbledore in the Harry Potter franchise, was married to Lady Anne Gambon for 61 years. They had one son together, Fergus.

Michael began a long-term relationship with Philippa Hart from 2002. They had two sons together, Tom and William.

Michael split his time between Philippa and Anne for approximately 20 years.

Michael died last year. In his Will, he left his estate, which has been reported to be £1.5 million, to Anne. Phillipa was left nothing. Tom and William were left £10,000 and a trophy each.

Trusts or assets that pass to the surviving owner may exist outside the public realm as they are not included in the Will. Notably, reports state that Michael and Phillipa owned a London property.

The law

The concept of testamentary freedom reigns in England and Wales: you can leave your estate to whomever you choose. This does not, however, prevent an individual from bringing a claim against your estate under the Inheritance Act 1975.

For Philippa to bring a claim against Michael’s estate, she would need to show that she lived with Michael for at least two years prior to his death, in a relationship akin to marriage. This claim will be hampered by the fact that Michael was married to Lady Anne throughout their relationship; you cannot legally be married to two people at the same time.

Alternatively, Tom and William could pursue a claim as they were both minors when Michael died. They would need to prove that they were financially dependent upon their father. A court is likely to determine whether their legacy and any unknown trust structure quantifies adequate fiscal provision.


Time will tell as to whether this is in fact an unfortunate state of affairs for the not so wise Wizard’s dependants, or instead a shrewd act to mitigate inheritance tax.