Wednesday, August 7, 2019
The son of British actress Elizabeth Hurley and American businessman Steve Bing has come out as the winner in a fight over his inheritance portion of his billionaire grandfather's trust. The trustee of the trust had petitioned a Los Angeles court to clarify the term "grandchild" in an attempt to disinherit any grandchildren that were born out of wedlock. The petition was spurred in part by a request for information on the trust by Steve’s other child, Kira Kerkorian Bing, who Steve shares with tennis player Lisa Bonder.
Peter claims that he intended his 1980 trusts to only benefit future grandchildren who were born or adopted at a young age by Steve or his daughter Mary and “raised by [his] children as part of their families.” Peter says that he has never met Damian nor Kira, and that even Steve has yet to meet Damian, thus they are not part of his family as he intended the trusts to be meant for.
Judge Daniel Juarez has denied the motion filed by the trustee, stating that “[t]here is no ambiguity in the Trusts' use of the term ‘grandchild.'” The judge ruled that though estate planning documents "are to be construed in accordance with the testator's intent, it is the intent expressed by the words of the will itself which must be given effect rather than some undisclosed purpose or intent that may have existed in the mind of the testator.” A grandchild is by definition a child of that person's child, and said that Peter's interpretation of the word was unreasonable.
See Anna Sulkin, Elizabeth Hurley's Son Prevails in Inheritance Fight, Wealth Management, July 29, 2019.
Special thanks to Naomi Cahn (Harold H. Greene Professor of Law, George Washington University School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.