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Famous inheritance disputes: Why did John Lennon cut his son out of his £220m fortune?   

Richard Dearden
Written by
Richard Dearden
Famous inheritance disputes: Why did John Lennon cut his son out of his £220m fortune?   

Today we talk about a very famous inheritance fight. The Beatles may have said ‘All You Need is Love’, but John Lennon’s first son, Julian, may have felt differently when it was revealed after the singer’s 1980 murder that only Yoko Ono and their son Sean were beneficiaries of Lennon’s reported £220m estate.

Julian was Lennon’s first son from his first marriage to Cynthia Powell. When they divorced in the 1960s it was agreed that Julian would receive £2,400 a year in maintenance before inheriting a £50,000 trust fund when he turned 25.

Despite Julian being only 17 at the time his father died it appears their relationship was complex. Speaking to Playboy magazine Lennon famously said: “I don’t love Julian any less as a child. He’s still my son, whether he came from a bottle of whiskey or because they didn’t have pills in those days.”

Julian, also known as Jude, has since said: “I’ve never really wanted to know the truth about how Dad was with me. There was some very negative stuff talked about me…like when he said I’d come out of a whiskey bottle on a Saturday night. Stuff like that. You think, where’s the love in that? Paul (McCartney) and I used to hang about quite a bit…more than Dad and I did. We had a great friendship going and there seems to be far more pictures of me and Paul playing together at that age than there are pictures of me and my Dad.”

It would be a further 16 years after John’s murder before Julian reached an out of court settlement with Ono.

Although the figure was never published, it’s rumoured to be around £20m – still a fraction of Lennon’s estate which is now believed to be worth more than £600m.

Using this settlement, Julian went on to buy back some of his father’s possessions including the Afghan coat worn on the cover of the Magical Mystery Tour album and scribbled notes about the song Hey Jude which was written about him.

An inheritance fight isn’t uncommon, in fact, one in four people say they would dispute a will if they were unhappy with the division of the estate. Find out how Tower Street Finance is helping more people gain what’s rightfully theirs with its new Inheritance Dispute Funding loan.

Other probate lending solutions from Tower Street Finance


  • Don’t wait 12 months for your inheritance, get your inheritance quicker with Inheritance Advance
  • Pay Estate Expenses such as funeral costs, Solicitor fees or property maintenance costs with an Estate Expense Funding
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