The will of Andrew Madoff, son of Ponzi schemer Bernie, was admitted to probate court last week. The will reportedly left his personal property valued at $11.5 million to his 2 daughters. He left one third of his $4.5 million of real estate to his estranged wife, and the remaining 2/3 of it to a trust for his long time girlfriend. His girlfriend is to receive $50,000 per month for the rest of her life. Notably, his wife withdrew her 5+ year old divorce filing 6 months ago. Andrew long maintained he was unaware of his father’s activities even though he worked for his father’s firm.
1. It was smart, if not cynical and financially calculating, of his wife to withdraw her divorce complaint prior to his death because assets pass to a spouse free of federal estate taxes.
2. I suspect that he also has a funded trust because there is no way to pay his girlfriend $50K monthly for the rest of her life based on a trust with $3 million principal ($2 million after estate taxes).
3. If there is a funded trust, it behooves the question why these $16 million of assets were not transferred to the trust prior to his death and why the will did not simply pour all assets into the trust and keep these provisions from the public eye.
4. The karma at work in Bernie Madoff;s life is almost commensurate with the amount of money he stole – reported to the feds by the sons he protected from his scheme, estranged from them afterwards, and now both of them dead before the age of 50 while he is alive in prison at 76. Almost commensurate.
A Scottish nurse falsely accused her grandfather of sexually abusing her when she was younger in an attempt to accelerate her inheritance. After the charges were found to be bogus, she was sentenced to 22 months in jail for fabricating the claims which forced her grandfather to spend some time in jail after they were made.
1. Her plot was as poorly conceived as the USC football player’s story about jumping off a balcony to rescue a drowning nephew. There is no law that treats criminals as deceased and then accelerates an inheritance.
2. While she is in jail she might wish to study a table of consanguinity and learn that even if her grandfather were dead, her grandmother would inherit his estate. Her own parent would inherit if her grandmother were deceased.
3. Consider it a hunch, but I suspect she will now never inherit a dime (or should I say shilling) from her grandfather.
Do not wait too long to revise your will.
The executors of Lauren Bacall’s estate filed her will in probate court on Friday. Her will, which she executed last fall, left her $27 million estate in equal shares to her 3 children save for a few small five figure bequests to household staff and to her son to care for her dog. She also left $250K to each of her grandsons to be used for college with them receiving the remainder at the age of 30.
1. A funded trust would have provided her privacy so the public would not know about her intentions.
2. A trust would also be a more efficient means of managing the funds for her grandsons.
Paul Daugherty of the Cincinnati Enquirer has once again graciously allowed me to guest write his The Morning Line blog.
Winnie Mandela, the ex-wife of Nelson Mandela, filed a claim against his estate seeking control of his ancestral home for her daughters. Mandela divorced Winnie in 1996 after he charged that she had been unfaithful to him during his 27 year imprisonment. Mandela’s will left the ancestral home to his 3rd wife who later waived her right to half of his estate in exchange for properties in her native Mozambique. Mandela’s grandson later ordered the exhumation of the bodies of 3 of Mandela’s children from the ancestral home, but Mandela’s daughter had the bodies re-interred at the disputed home.
Several points, if I must:
1. It is odd that an elderly mother would be the one to file a claim on behalf of her middle aged daughters. Adolescence is seemingly prolonged every year.
2. If the South African court system moves at the same pace as it did for the Oscar Pistorius trial, Winnie and the third wife will die before there is a resolution.
3. Whoever can convince the various members and factions of the Mandela family to have a group hug deserves a Nobel Peace Prize.
Casey Kasem died a month ago but his body remains unburied. Reportedly, just prior to his daughter obtaining a court order to keep his body in the U.S., his wife had his body shipped to Montreal, the home of her alleged boyfriend. Additionally, Jean Kasem’s law firm is seeking to resign as her attorneys after she has allegedly incurred unpaid legal bills of $500,000 during her dispute with his children. The law firm has threatened to file a claim a claim against his estate for payment of its services.
Two points, if I must:
1. Creditors of a decedent can file a claim against the estate for unpaid debts. Services rendered on behalf of one party in a deathbed dispute are not necessarily the responsibility of the estate especially if the party loses.
2. I would would not think too long about continuing a romantic relationship with a meat throwing and scripture quoting partner who has her deceased husband’s remains shipped to my hometown. To paraphrase Kramer on Seinfeld, “Two words, Jerry. Break up.”
Just returned from 2 weeks in Spain and Morocco. Blog post to follow. In the meantime, here are some vacation pics of my children.