Unless you have not had to access to social media, a newspaper, or television in recent weeks, it is likely you have heard the name, Jeffrey Epstein. Epstein is now widely known for his alleged sexual assault of underage girls spanning a number of years. Allegations include assaulting girls in New York, Florida, and other locations, and more recently, he was charged with one count of sex trafficking of a minor and one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking. He pled not guilty to these crimes and was being held in jail in New York.
Two days before committing suicide in his jail cell, Epstein signed a will. Victims who allege assault by Epstein have filed a lawsuit against his estate. In his will, Epstein left his estate to a private trust. It is estimated that his estate is worth more than $577 million. The victims of Epstein suing the estate might have a difficult time making a claim on his assets now that they have been left to a private trust.
The use of a private trust in an individual’s estate is not new. Using a trust is often a strategic move based on the needs and wants of the individual preparing the estate documents. Accusers who filed a civil suit against Epstein’s estate face a tough legal battle for monetary damages. The criminal suit against Epstein died with him, but his estate is still subject to civil suits. If the criminal case had gone to court and Epstein had been convicted, it would have likely been easier to collect monetary damages in a civil suit. The elimination of the criminal suit does not eliminate the possibility of recovering in a civil suit, however.
One possible scenario for those suing Epstein’s estate is that they will be locked in a legal battle for many years. Epstein’s will was filed in the Virgin Islands. There will be no money leaving the trust until all claims are settled.
While the use of a trust could create some legal roadblocks, there is the possibility that all of Epstein’s assets were not transferred into the trust before his death, especially since it was signed only two days before his death. Additionally, even if all assets were transferred before his death, there is a possibility that the transfer could be deemed fraudulent. This is because Epstein was facing criminal charges when the transfer was made and the courts could rule the transfer of property as fraudulent and therefore the assets would be available to those pursuing damages because they are not a part of the trust.
While your estate plan will likely never be as contested as Jeffrey Epstein’s, it is important to have a solid and legal plan nonetheless. Knowing that your assets will be handled in your preferred way after death provides peace of mind to most people. The estate planning attorneys at the Law Office of Kris Mukherji are here to help you create an estate plan specifically tailored to your needs and wants. Contact us today for a consultation.Read More
For most people, planning for their death is not an enjoyable activity. However, we must all come to terms with our mortality and make sure that we put a plan is in place for how our estates will be handled following our death. An estate plan can encompass many different documents and plans. When most individuals think of an estate plan, they think of a last will and testament. Is a will enough to protect your assets and save your family from struggling to deal with your assets? It might not be.
While a will can cover many assets and account for potential problems that might arise, there is no way to guarantee that it will cover any and all contingencies. This is not to say that a will is not beneficial. For any California resident, having a will in place is a great start to their estate planning process. A will can not be ignored. It is essential to include a will in your estate plan because it includes a lot of important information about your wishes after death.
Wills in California
A will is a legal document that outlines the way you would like your assets to be dispersed following your death. It provides written directions for the handling of your estate and provides a step-by-step process for your loved ones. Additionally, a will can include any final words that you wish to tell your loved ones. While the will provides the basic directions, there are additional documents that are needed to complete an estate plan.
Additional Estate Planning Documents
A will provides for the distribution of assets, but it does not provide for incapacitation or consider tax implications or benefits. Therefore, additional documents are necessary to complete you estate plan. There needs to be a plan in place in the event that you are suddenly unable to care for yourself. The following are additional documentation that should be included in an estate plan:
- Healthcare power of attorney: This is a legal document that names a person who will be responsible for your medical care in the event that you are unable to make decisions for yourself. This saves time and confusion during medical emergencies so that there is no delay in life saving decision making.
- Financial power of attorney: Similarly to a healthcare power of attorney, the financial power of attorney names a person to take over your financial decision-making when you are unable to.
- Healthcare Directive: A healthcare directive states what you wish to be done if you are incapacitated in the hospital. This is different than the power of attorney. This is prepared by you to dictate whether you want to be resuscitated, how long you want CPR to be performed, and etc.
The estate planning attorney at the Law Office of Kris Mukherji is here to help you create your estate plan. We want to help you create a complete estate plan to give you the reassurance that your affairs will be handled as you wish following your death. Do not wait on this important documentation and planning; contact us today.Read More