Monday, January 27, 2014

On the Back of the Working Class. Kind Of. (Huguette Clark Part 4)

I have previously blogged about the estate of Huguette Clark and the resulting litigation.  Her heirs, will beneficiaries, day nurse, attorney, and accountant reached a settlement last September in which the nurse forsook a $30 million bequest and agreed to return $6.7 million of the $31 million she had previously received, the accountant and attorney agreed to waive their rights to the $1 million they were to receive, and the heirs agreed to share $38 million after being left out of the will.  Now, the night nurse, who made $131K annually and received gifts of $1 million and was not a party to the settlement is suing the estate for being left out of the will after she was allegedly promised money by Ms. Clark.  The estate is suing her to return some of the gifts.

Several points:

1.  On its face, it does seem unfair that the day nurse received gifts of $30 million while the night nurse received $1 million while both worked 12 hour days, but then the night nurse only had limited hours to discuss gifts with Ms. Clark due to Ms. Clark's sleep needs.

2.  Ms. Clark had no obligation to leave her nurse anything in her will.  Cases trying to enforce promises to leave a bequest are extremely difficult to win.

3.  Even without receiving anything in the will, the nurse made out fine with her six figure salary and seven figure gift for sitting next to a sleeping woman for 20 years.

4.  In what looks like the 1% exploiting the 99%, the nurses either received nothing under the will and had to  return prior gifts while the attorneys shared fees of $24 million.  In actuality, it was the rich exploiting the less rich because her night nurse's income and assets placed her in the top 4% in the U.S.  Sympathies are hard to place in this story.

Back In The Office

Time out of the office is chewing up blogging time.  I am back in the office after a weekend ski trip with my son.  New post to follow.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

You Are Only As Good As Your Surrogate

I am sure you have seen this, but it is still worth commenting on.  A 13 year old California girl suffered tragic complications after undergoing sleep apnea surgery and was declared brain dead by the physicians at the hospital where the surgery was performed.  Her family has contested the "brain death" declaration and has had her transferred to an disclosed facility with beliefs similar to theirs.

Two major points (no snark with these horrible circumstances):

1.  Adults can avoid the ramifications of a similar situation by executing a living will about their intentions if declared brain dead and by designating a health care surrogate to act in their stead via a health care power of attorney.

2.  The declaration of intent and designation of a surrogate are only as good as the person tasked with carrying out one's wishes.  Be sure that the surrogate shares one's intellect and values, and respects one's wishes.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Fake Tan, Fake Debts, Short Marriage

An NYC heiress has accused her estranged husband of duping her into giving him $750K of her trust funds which he allegedly spent on his mistress.  The 39 year old woman met her 30 year old husband at a tanning salon in 2010, married him in 2011, and soon ended up withdrawing funds to pay his alleged “gambling debts.”  At one time she withdrew $150K cash from a bank and placed it in a duffel bag.  She alleges that her husband used the funds to take his mistress to  Vegas and the Dominican Republic and to purchase gifts from Bloomingdales, Louis Vuitton, and Cartier.

Three quick points:

1.  A trust fund that allows a beneficiary to withdraw $150K and place it in a duffel bag is not very effective.

2.  A trust beneficiary capable of being duped to the tune of $750K in 2 years needs more restrictive trust terms.

3.  In ranking questionable locales for meeting prospective spouses, a tanning salon ranks  below AA but only slightly above a rehab facility.

Happy New Year

I hope the new year is treating you well.  I am back in town after some time in Florida with my family.  Blog post to follow soon.  In the meantime, here is a picture of my children.