20 August 2019 | Comment | Article by Roman Kubiak TEP
The recent revelations that disgraced former financier, Jeffrey Epstein, made a will two days before his suicide is likely to leave many asking questions. None more so than the potential victims of the charges for which he is awaiting trial.
It’s reported that Epstein’s estate was worth more than $577m (£475m) and that, under his will, he placed his holdings into an offshore trust, The 1953 Trust.
The will, it’s reported, doesn’t name any beneficiaries. That’s because the ultimate intended beneficiaries are likely to be named in the trust deed, as opposed to the will.
Trusts can be used for securing and protecting family assets and providing for loved ones without giving them total access to all the estate. But they can also be seen as cynical attempts to move assets away from those who may have a legitimate claim on them, for instance creditors, spouses or civil partners in divorce and dissolution cases or, as some will speculate may be the case here, victims of abuse.
However, in many offshore jurisdictions it’s possible to challenge both the terms of a will and/or a trust and to make claims against either.
For more information about the issues raised in this blog please speak to a member of our contested wills, trusts and estates or sexual abuse team.