Jeffrey Epstein’s will was filed in the U.S. Virgin Islands. It’s a “pour-over will” that transfers all of his assets into a trust. The trust is secret, not open to the public, and is administered by trustees. Epstein’s will, which is a public document, claimed assets of more than $577 million.
However, none of that money can be moved into Epstein’s trust until a probate court decides what to do with the numerous claims made against the convicted sex offender and his estate.
CBS News’ recent article, “What we know about Jeffrey Epstein’s will, and what happens next with his estate,” provides a list of questions that can help explain what happens next with Epstein’s estate. His estate will be overseen by the two executors named in the will, attorneys Darren K. Indyke and Richard D. Kahn.
The terms of the trust are not public because they are not part of the will itself. Epstein’s creation of the trust is commonly done by those who desire privacy. Of course, there is some surprise because the will and the trust were created just two days before he died. One of the most intriguing parts of Epstein’s will is that it lists his domicile (his permanent residence) as the U.S. Virgin Islands. Domicile is important in determining which jurisdiction controls the estate. Domicile must be proven in a probate court, and is usually accomplished with tax returns, a driver’s license, or documented time spent in the jurisdiction.
Another question about Epstein’s will, is whether it will even be declared valid. His will, and thus his entire trust, can be held invalid, if the will was not properly executed and if it was not properly witnessed or signed. There cannot be any fraud, undue influence, or duress. Since the will was made right before his suicide, there is no certainty of his mental capacity.
His testamentary capacity, which means his mental ability to make a valid will or estate, will probably be decided by a probate judge. If his estate planning documents are voided, the assets would transfer to the beneficiary of the estate, which is his brother, Mark Epstein. However, Mark would still be liable for creditors’ claims and any alleged victims’ lawsuits.
Epstein’s $577 million in assets will not pass from his estate into his private trust until all creditors’ claims have been satisfied in a probate court.
Legal experts expect a long, drawn-out, and complex process for deciding the future of Epstein’s wealth.
Reference: CBS News (August 21, 2019) “What we know about Jeffrey Epstein’s will, and what happens next with his estate”