Multimillionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein died from hanging on August 10 in his cell at New York’s Metropolitan Correctional Center, and questions raised during the lead-up his trial for child sex trafficking are now added to those related to the fate of his immense fortune.
His estate includes homes in Florida, New York, New Mexico, the Virgin Islands, and France worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Epstein himself claimed to have a net worth of over $559 million, according to Time.
In principle, he has no natural heirs such as a wife and children—they do not exist or at least are unknown, but he is known to have at least one brother, as reported by the Miami Herald on August 11.
It may be necessary to wait for the will that he may have left to be read in order to know how he arranged for the distribution of his assets.
According to ex-prosecutor Joe DeMaria: ” Maybe they should first read Epstein’s will… If he bequeathed all of his assets to charities or scientific foundations, that may be a better way.”
However, the priority now would be the compensation of the victims, according to the former federal prosecutor Silvia Piñera-Vázquez, also interviewed by the Miami Herald.
The problem lies in the fact that there was no trial or conviction, and consequently the property cannot be confiscated. His trial was projected to be held in 2020.
While other legal procedures for confiscating assets could be invoked, they would take too long and their results could be dubious.
He was known to donate large sums of money to science and charity. For example, Harvard University received two million dollars from Epstein.
Among the projects he promoted were eugenics, cryogenics, and even plans to “sow the human race” with his DNA, inseminating women en masse at his ranch in New Mexico.
Given the behavior of the wealthy Epstein, an organization called Morse Genealogical Services revealed a website requesting information about unknown children potentially fathered by Epstein.
“We have reason to believe that based on his [Epstein’s] behavior that there may be some unidentified children that are out there and as such, they would likely be entitled to claim against the estate,” said Ari Morse, a representative of the genealogical research firm, according to the Miami Herald.
Attorney Stan Pottinger announced that he will file civil lawsuits against Epstein’s assets on behalf of “several” New York victims allegedly abused by the wealthy man.
Pottinger is not the only attorney seeking compensation for his clients.
“I think [prosecutors] are going to probably be moving as quickly as they possibly can,” said Sharon Cohen Levin, a former federal prosecutor for the Southern District of New York who specializes in asset forfeiture, according to Time.