Two days before the convicted child sex trafficker and disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide in a Manhattan federal jail by hanging himself, he signed his last will and testament.
Epstein has left a fortune worth almost $600 million, and he put all his holdings in The 1953 Trust, so named after the year he was born. According to the probate petition, Epstein had $56.5 million in cash; $14.3 million in fixed-income investments; $112.6 million in equities; and $194.9 million in hedge funds and private equity investments.
Epstein’s last will was signed Aug. 8, and the document was filed in the U.S. Virgin Islands—two days later he hanged himself.
“What is more unusual is the date, the fact that all of this was done just days before he died,’’ said an anonymous source. “He could have thought, ‘I need to get my ducks in a row.’ ”
The 21-page filing has a copy attached of Epstein’s death certificate from Aug. 11, the day after his suicide, when he hung himself while the guards assigned to check regularly on him, reportedly slept.
Main executors of the will are Darren K. Indyke and Richard D. Kahn, Epstein’s longtime lawyers, who will receive a quarter of a million dollars as payment.
Epstein has named a backup executor for the will, Boris Nikolic, a former science adviser to Bill Gates, who is keen to distance himself from the deceased, and was shocked at his inclusion. “I was not consulted in these matters and I have no intent to fulfill these duties, whatsoever,” he said in a statement obtained by Bloomberg. Nikolic has a wide range of investments covering the life science, information technology, and health care sectors, including companies such as Foundation Medicine, ResearchGate, Schrodinger and Nimbus Therapeutics.
Bridget J. Crawford, a professor at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University said, according to The Daily Beast, the beneficiary of Epstein’s will is unlikely to be made public.
“He created some sort of trust very shortly before he died to receive all his property, and the reason people do that is to keep private from the public who is the beneficiary,” said Crawford adding, “The will is public, but the trust itself is not.”
Epstein has only one relative, his brother Mark, and Crawford said he could contest the will. “Mark could come forward and say, ‘This is not a valid will, it was executed when he was not of right mind.’ There [could] be multiple possible grounds for doing so—fraud, undue influence, duress for example,” she said. Adding, “That would be a way Mark could overturn the will and take the entire estate.”
No one is likely to be paid from the will in the short term, it could take several years to sort out his financial affairs. “I expect the court to be inundated with claims against the estate. This thing’s going to go on for years,” said Crawford.
Because Epstein’s death put an end to any trial relating to the criminal charges against him, lawyers for the women making claims against him for sexual abuse, vow to keep fighting for their clients.
“Give his entire estate to his victims. It is the only justice they can get,” one of those lawyers, Lisa Bloom, wrote in an email, as reported by Time. “And they deserve it. And on behalf of the Epstein victims I represent, I intend to fight for it.”