The founder of North Face and Esprit, Douglas Tompkins, died in December 2015 after a kayaking accident in Chile. In the man's estate planning, he didn't leave any money to his five grandchildren or his two daughters who live in the San Francisco area. The daughter is now seeking to inherit millions from her deceased father's estate by filing a lawsuit. The controversial and contentious estate battle is happening in both U.S. and South American courts.
All of the billionaire's estate has gone to his second wife and foundations that he and his widow created to safeguard millions of acres of land in Argentina and Chile. Not long after his death, the billionaire's daughter, said that it's sad she didn't receive an inheritance, and there wasn't anything she could do about it.
However, in June 2016, the 46-year-old daughter filed a lawsuit to pursue part of her father's estate. She said that she isn't looking for a handout and that she's a hardworking person. About the fact that her father didn't leave her or her other family members any money, the daughter said, "It's an insult. But he is dead, rotting in the ground as we speak ... he was a completely self-absorbed human being, a narcissist," she said.
This case is a clear example of what can happen when an estate planner doesn't consider what could happen if he or she chooses not to leave an inheritance for certain heirs. They can feel slighted, and unless the individual talks with the person to explain why he or she has chosen not to leave any assets to him or her, it can leave family members feeling slighted. If you're currently planning the distribution of your estate, be sure to discuss strategies to reduce the chances of family infighting and/or challenges to your will after you're gone.
Source: San Francisco Chronicle, "Daughter seeks millions from Esprit co-founder Douglas Tompkins’ will By Matier & Ross," Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross, Oct. 30, 2017