Epstein’s dead body was discovered in his Metropolitan Correctional Center cell on August 10th amid a lawsuit accusing him of running a sex-trafficking ring of minor girls. His will, filed in St. Thomas, in the U.S. Virgin Islands, is 21 pages long and values his wealth at $577 million, including millions of dollars worth of shares in private companies and $194 million in private equity and hedge fund investments.
Excluded is the value of Epstein’s eclectic and erotic art collection. His wealth was put in a trust labeled “1953 Trust,” for the year Epstein was born. He listed one heir, his brother, Mark Epstein.
Epstein signed, “In witness whereof, I have duly executed this will, 8 day of August 2019.”
Unlike wills, the dealings of trusts are private. If his trust is ineffective, his wealth will be split among its trustees, who are not named in his will.
One of Epstein’s accusers, Jennifer Araoz, has filed a lawsuit against his estate, which could delay or prevent his fortune from passing into the trust.
Patrick D. Goodman, a probate law expert at the University of California, Los Angeles law school stated that “the assets of the will cannot be distributed to any beneficiaries, including a trust, until any creditors, including victims who are owed damages or restitution, have collected what they are owed,” Mr. Goodman said. “Who determines what they are owed is a court of law.”
More lawsuits from Epstein’s accusers are expected.
While federal prosecuters have dropped the criminal case against Epstein in light of his death, they asserted that their investigation has not ended. William P. Barr, US Attorney General warned last week, “Let me assure you that this case will continue on against anyone who was complicit with Epstein. Any co-conspirator should not rest easy.”
Alexandra Wells is a news intern at the Forward. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org