You may have heard that Senator Dianne Feinstein passed away on September 29, 2023, and there is pending litigation between the Senator and her deceased husband, Richard Blum, as well as some new litigation regarding her estate.
Two petitions have been filed by the Senator’s daughter, Katherine Feinstein. The first petition concerns the joint revocable trust between Senator Feinstein and Richard Blum. Katherine is alleging that the joint trust held between Dianne and Richard was not split, and she is also requesting that the court permit the trustees to sell one of the four properties in trust, the Stinson Beach property. The problem is that Katherine filed using a power of attorney that is no longer valid now that Senator Feinstein has passed away. Her only option is to file a probate so the court can grant her an order naming her the executor for Senator Feinstein’s estate, and only then can the lawsuit continue.
In the other lawsuit, Katherine is suing her co-trustee for inaction. This lawsuit will proceed because she is still the co-trustee, providing continuity for before and after death.
As we also point out, the big lesson learned here is a lack of communication within the family. Being surprised is a big part of why people react badly, so having these critical conversations with your children, other family members, etc., is vital to make your intentions clear while also hearing what your loved ones have to say.
Time-stamped Show Notes:
1:16 Before we dive into all the details of Dianne’s situation, let’s discuss some of the backstory and how Dianne’s husband, Richard Blum, fits into the story.
3:06 There is some litigation going on with the trusts. Senator Feinstein’s daughter claims that Richard’s trust wasn’t split and wants to sell the Stinson Beach property.
5:24 The other point of this litigation is that Katherine Feinstein is suing her co-trustee, a fiduciary.
6:14 The second petition, also filed by Katherine Feinstein on behalf of Dianne as a beneficiary of Richard’s separate property trust because she has not received the $1.5 million in income and principal to which Senator Feinstein is entitled.
8:10 Now that Senator Feinstein has died, the power of attorney that Katherine Feinstein is using for the second petition is no longer valid. So, she will now have to file a petition for probate to be named executor.
11:37 Now that we know what’s happening, let’s highlight the lessons learned. One crucial element we think happened is that there was NO communication among family members.
Resources Related to This Episode:
- Absolute Trust Talk Ep. 106 – What’s Left of the Presley Estate? Lessons Learned from Elvis & Lisa Marie: https://absolutetrustcounsel.com/106-whats-left-of-the-presley-estate-lessons-learned-from-elvis-lisa-marie/
- Absolute Trust Talk Ep. 097 – Estate Planning Lessons from the Rich and Famous: https://absolutetrustcounsel.com/097-estate-planning-lessons-from-the-rich-and-famous/
- Death and Estate Taxes Don’t Take Holidays, Even for Celebrities – A carefully crafted estate plan may have avoided the multi-million dollar battle over Michael Jackson’s estate: https://absolutetrustcounsel.com/death-estate-taxes-dont-take-holidays-even-celebrities/.
- From Prince to Pauper? What happens if you die without an estate plan. If you’re the late rock star Prince, you lose half of your estate to state and federal estate taxes: https://absolutetrustcounsel.com/from-prince-to-pauper/
- Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher’s Deaths Give Offspring Millions to Inherit Overnight – Losing two generations back-to-back will strain even the most robust estate plan: https://absolutetrustcounsel.com/essential_grid/debbie-reynolds-carrie-fishers-deaths-give-offspring-millions-inherit-overnight/
- Nichelle Nichols Conservatorship Battle Sheds Light on Estate Planning for Incapacity: https://absolutetrustcounsel.com/essential_grid/nichelle-nichols-conservatorship-battle-sheds-light-on-estate-plannning-for-incapacity/
- Estate Planning Lessons, Celebrity Edition – Nichelle Nichols: https://absolutetrustcounsel.com/estate-planning-lessons-celebrity-edition-nichelle-nichols/
- Bill Paxton’s Death Sheds a New Light on Pre-Surgery Estate Planning Essentials: https://absolutetrustcounsel.com/essential_grid/bill-paxtons-death-sheds-new-light-pre-surgery-estate-planning-essentials/
- A Will is Not Enough – Securing Your Legacy with Estate Planning Life can change in an instant. A will is not enough to be prepared. Get free access to our actionable E-book Guidebook #1 and start protecting your legacy today. https://absolutetrustcounsel.com/guidebooks/
- Learn how to comfortably define gray areas and assess your own unique needs to effortlessly build a secure future now. Check out Guidebook #2 Estate Planning Beyond the Basics, here > https://absolutetrustcounsel.com/guidebooks/
- Get our free introductory guide to the number one used estate planning tool, family trusts, and understand exactly how we plan to protect your family Guidebook #3: https://absolutetrustcounsel.com/guidebooks/
- Absolute Trust Counsel would love to offer access to our Incapacity Planning resource page: https://AbsoluteTrustCounsel.com/Incapacity-Planning/. We’ve collected our top planning information all in one place so listeners can find videos, guidebooks, blog posts, and a host of information with tips and strategies on implementing, planning, and protecting themselves and their loved ones
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