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Distributing Jeffrey Epstein's large estate

Texas residents might be familiar with Jefferey Epstein after his alleged connections to sex trafficking made national news. The financier's suicide Aug. 10 is not the end of the story. The 66-year-old's estate may be worth more than $577 million, and many people are interested in what the next steps are when it comes to distributing his estate.

The legitimacy of Epstein's will could be called into question as it was created two days before his death. If a will is created quickly during stressful circumstances, this could make it easier for a mistake to occur.

Before distributing assets to heirs, an executor must first satisfy the deceased's obligations to creditors. In Epstein's case, this includes funeral expenses and administration costs. If plaintiffs are given restitution from the legal cases in which Epstein was involved when he died, these people will also be first in line to receive payment.

After the necessary payments were made, Epstein's will stated that his remaining assets should be given to a trust. While irrevocable trusts can provide protection from creditors, Epstein's trust is thought to be revocable. One cannot create a trust to protect assets from an impending suit because this would constitute a fraudulent conveyance.

Epstein's will lists five properties in different states and countries. This could make residency an issue. State taxes apply in the state of a person's primary residence, and litigation or audits could occur to ensure that an individual lived where he or she once claimed instead of attempting to take advantage of a lower tax rate.

A story like this helps illustrate how many components are involved in the estate administration and probate process. A person may wish to consult with an attorney when seeking solutions for paying creditors and taxes while still leaving behind an inheritance for loved ones.

Source: CNBC, "Here's why a bitter legal battle could be ahead for Jeffrey Epstein's estate," Darla Mercado, Aug. 24, 2019

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