Epstein Created Trust With $578 Million Days Before Suicide




 

(Bloomberg) -- Jeffrey Epstein wrote a will just two days before his suicide, saying he had about $578 million in assets that he placed in a trust, which could complicate efforts by women who say he sexually abused them to collect damages.

Epstein, who died Aug. 10 in a federal jail cell in Manhattan, asked that Darren K. Indyke and Richard D. Kahn be appointed as executors, according to a copy of the will filed Aug. 15 with the court in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

All of his assets were transferred to the trust as of Aug. 8, two days before he died, assuring that details on how the proceeds are distributed may remain private. The will was first reported Monday by the New York Post, which also published a document detailing Epstein's fortune in real estate, cash, equities and other assets.

The real estate -- from his New Mexico ranch to his Manhattan mansion and private islands -- is held through various entities laid out in the will. The assets listed are similar to those in Epstein's unsuccessful bail request.

The valuation does not include his art collection, which is subject to appraisal, according to the document.

Indyke had served as an attorney for Epstein, the financier indicted on charges of conspiracy and trafficking, accused of sexually abusing dozens of girls. He pleaded guilty more than a decade ago to state prostitution charges in Florida, admitting to soliciting an underage girl. Epstein's estate is expected to face many lawsuits by women who claim he abused them when they were children.

It's possible that Epstein may not have had time to take all the necessary legal steps needed to transfer each of his assets to the trust, said Bruce Steiner, an estate attorney.

"It would be hard to transfer it that quickly," Steiner said. "If he didn't transfer the assets into the trust before he died, then the victims can simply go after the executors of his estate. Then it doesn't matter who the estate goes to."

Epstein's trust, known as The 1953 Trust, remains a private document whose details won't have to be disclosed by the court. In addition to determining how his assets will be used, the executors can "litigate, defend, compromise, settle, abandon or submit to arbitration" any claims against his estate, according to the document. There's no reference to his arrest or the investigation.

Epstein's brother, Mark, is listed as his next of kin. Indyke and Kahn are "investigating potential debts and claims of the estate and at this time they are unknown," according to the court petition for their appointment.

Prosecutors in Manhattan filed court papers Monday to close the case against Epstein, while saying they'll continue to investigate others involved in his alleged crimes. On Aug. 16, the New York City medical examiner ruled his death a suicide.

The trustees for the Epstein entity will inherit all of his property, according to the document, which doesn't name the individuals. Indyke and Kahn will be paid $250,000 for executing Epstein's will, according to the document.

The will was witnessed by Mariel Colon Miro, a criminal defense attorney for the law office of Michael Lambert, and Gulnora Tali, who's also an attorney with a private practice. Colon Miro and Tali didn't immediately respond to phone calls seeking comment.

(Updates with link to will in second paragraph.)

--With assistance from Sophie Alexander, Jonathan Levin and Anders Melin.

To contact the reporters on this story: David Voreacos in New York at dvoreacos@bloomberg.net;Neil Weinberg in New York at nweinberg2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jeffrey D Grocott at jgrocott2@bloomberg.net, Peter Eichenbaum, Heather Smith

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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