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Bay Area Estate And Tax Planning Law Firm
Estate Planning
Trust Administration and probate

Did contrasting family values lead to this estate outcome?

| Oct 31, 2017 | Uncategorized |

The estranged daughter of a noted business tycoon who died in late 2015 openly acknowledges a virtual lack of communication with her father over decades. She laments that he — in the words of a recently written national newspaper piece — “didn’t leave a dime” in his estate to blood relatives, but says that she can’t do a thing about being written out of his will.

The lawsuits she has filed indicate otherwise.

Billionaire Douglas Tompkins (think clothing retailers Esprit and North Face) made no mention of his two daughters and multiple grandchildren in his will. Instead, he left his entire fortune to his second wife and to promote a number of conservation projects in South America. When he died, Tompkins was a permanent resident.

His daughter Summer filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles following the will’s disclosure. She called the will “an insult,” claiming that she was entitled to a share of the estate assets.

A California judge thought otherwise, ruling just last month that her complaints were largely “irrelevant” and that there was nothing untoward about the trust that Tompkins established under state law.

The matter has not ended there.

In the wake of that judgment, Summer Tompkins Walker quickly appealed and additionally filed a claim in Chile, contending that Chilean law entitles her to a $50 million recovery.

Tompkins’ attorney says that his client and Summer had starkly differing views on wealth and how it should be applied. Reportedly, the father frowned on what he perceived as his daughter’s materialistic “lifestyle and values,” with his estate determinations being strongly driven by a love of nature and the environment.

Unless Summer can prevail in a Chilean court, any avenues to a recovery from her father’s estate would now seem to be completely shut off.

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