The Livens Law Firm

Moguls estate takes almost eight years to settle

A marriage that lasted over 28 years to a titan of technology ended after the husband suffered a stroke and died at the age of 75. Stunned and shocked and finding it hard to fathom, the widow and her two stepchildren entered into an estate battle with a major financial institution that would last for almost eight years. In Texas and other states, a property can be held in financial limbo when a person dies without a will.

In 2010, the widow and children hired JPMorgan to administer the estate of their husband and father, an estate with over $19 million in property and assets. The bank charged a $230,000 fee for estate administration, and that is when the lawsuits ensued. The three heirs claim that the bank mishandled the estate, losing hundreds of thousands of dollars executing stock options and mishandling accounts.

In Sept. 2017, a jury heard the case, and the ruling was for the family. The award was of historic proportions to the tune of $8 billion against JPMorgan. The woman claimed in court filings that she was a widow wronged by a bank. It appears the jury agreed, thinking the bank's only interest was its own and not the interest of the estate or the family. 

When a person dies without a will, the process can be overwhelming. An estate can be held in probate for a period of time before it is divided among the person's heirs. In Texas, speaking with an attorney who is well versed in estate administration can help answer one's questions and address concerns to make the process less intimidating

Source: dmagazine.com, "The Widow, the Bank, and the $8 Billion Verdict", Joseph Guinto, Jan. 8, 2018

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