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Case Shows Importance of Executor Choice in Estate Planning

The battle over control of late fashion designer Oleg Cassini’s estate continued on May 29. According to reports, there is a dispute between the fashion designer’s widow and his daughter over who should have control of the estate. The daughter claims that her father’s widow, who originally had control of the estate, was not been managing the $52 million estate appropriately. The daughter claims that the widow was using the assets from the estate for personal reasons without prior approval from the court and that she had not been maintaining proper records.

In March, a judge suspended the widow’s control over the estate, and the daughter is now trying to be awarded control of her father’s estate. In the most recent court appearance, a lawyer for the daughter claimed that the widow had not gotten insurance on a $30 million home that caught fire two years after the fashion designer died. The fire reportedly caused damages in the amount of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The representation for the widow countered that the fashion designer had not had any insurance on the property to begin with and that the widow had been trying to get insurance at the time of the fire. He also told the courts that it was difficult to determine which assets belonged to the estate and which assets were hers because she had been married to the designer for such a long time.

Administrating an estate can be a challenging and tedious process, especially with estates worth significant amounts of money. This is why deciding who will be the executor of an estate is such an important part of the estate planning process. Executors in Massachusetts must abide by the proper procedures as they distribute the assets and ensure that claims are paid properly. If an executor fails to perform the role successfully, the courts may have to step in to appoint someone else responsible.

Source:¬†Newsday, “Court feud over control of Oleg Cassini’s estate by daughter, widow continues” Bridget Murphy, May. 30, 2014

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