Thursday, January 24, 2013
Sir Peter Ustinov was a double-Oscar winning actor who passed away in 2004 at 82. He starred in movies such as Spartacus, Death on the Nile and Logan's Run. Sir Peter was married three times and had four children. At the time of his death, it was estimated that he was worth tens of millions. Since his last will was written 36 years before his death, judges ruled that he died intestate.
The battle over his estate is still going as Igor Cloutier von Ustinov, his son with his second wife, brough proceedings in a bid to freeze out his stepmother. Igor is trying to prove that since his father set up trusts, his estate should be handed to his offspring in spite of the court's ruling that revoked the will.
Sir Peter's son in law, Malcolm Rennie, says he doubts there is much left to fight for since Ustinov was successful at such a high level and everybody wanted a piece of him. Malcolm speculates that the bulk of the estate has gone to the lawyers.
The battle over the estate has been going on for over five years, since the judges ruled that his last-written will was invalidated when he married Lady Helene. This judgment opened the door for her to claim a share of his estate. Igor is now claiming that the trusts his father set up reserve a sizable slice of Sir Peter's assets for his children. Sir Peter's other three children have all been involved in the legal battle as well.
See Sir Peter Ustinov's Estate May be Lost on Legal Fees in Bitter Family Feud, The Telegraph, Jan. 24, 2013.