Not a new story, the story of Larry Hillblom bears repeating as an example of why estate planning is so important and why updating that plan is essential. Larry Hillblom was an eccentric multi-millionaire living on the island of Saipan. He died when his airplane went down during a Micronesian island hop in 1995. As one of the founders of the worldwide shipping giant DHL, Hillblom’s estate was valued at near to $600 million at the time of his death.
Hillblom did leave a Last Will and Testament; nevertheless, he likewise left behind 4 invalid children and a legal nightmare that would span the globe and take near to five years to conclude.
Although Hillblom’s legal house was Saipan at the time of death, he likewise had properties located in the United States. The primary beneficiary under the regards to his Will was also situated in the U.S.– The University of California. Hillblom left most of his fortune to a trust that was meant to be utilized by the UC for medical research study under the terms of his Will.
After Hillblom’s death, 4 different women appeared claiming that they had kids by Hillblom– all of whom were verified after DNA screening. Since Hillblom had actually not upgraded his 1982 Will and since his 1982 Will did not have a provision leaving out future children or resolving any future kids in any way, an estate fight was waged that ultimately consisted of over 200 attorneys on 2 continents. Ultimately, Hillblom’s children were awarded 60 percent of his $600 million estate, making them among the wealthiest residents of Saipan at this point.
Whether this is what Hillblom would have desired we will never ever understand. Stopping working to build an estate plan that considered possible future events, such as kids, was Hillblom’s very first estate planning error. Not updating his estate plan as his fortune grew and other circumstances altered was his second big mistake. Although 3 of the children were extremely young– one yet to be born when Hillblom passed away– another was 12 at the time and the child of Hillblom’s girlfriend. Hillblom should have known at least one of these children existed which must have prompted him to upgrade his estate plan. Simply a couple of hours and a nominal fee might have conserved years of lawsuits and a little fortune in legal charges