A wealthy man has passed away in China leaving his estate worth more than a billion dollars to charity resulting in his sons challenging the will.
Yu Pengnian, a 93-year-old real estate executive in Hong Kong, has died and left an estate estimated at more than US$1.55 billion. Pengnian continued his life-long support to charity by leaving the bulk of his estate to a charitable foundation.
All of his assets, except for the contents of two safes given to his grandsons, were directed by will to go to a charitable foundation. His two sons were left nothing in the will. Those sons have filed will caveats with the probate court overseeing the will, which is essentially filing the same thing as a notice of intent to challenge the will.
Ejinsight reported this story in "Heirs gird for court battle over late billionaire's fortune."
It is possible that we will see many similar will contests all over the world in the coming decades as a recent trend has seen the extremely wealthy pledge to leave at least half of their estates to charitable causes. With billions of dollars at stake, it should come as no surprise that the families of these wealthy philanthropists might not always be pleased with giving so much away to charity.
By giving all of his money to charity and leaving nothing for his sons, Yu Pengnian might have made an avoidable mistake. It might have been better to leave something of value to his sons and include a no-contest clause in the will.
Even if there is a no-contest clause in Pengnian's will, which is unknown, it would not have stopped the sons from contesting the will as they receive nothing from it now. On the other hand, if they succeed in challenging the validity of the will, then they will each receive half of the assets of the estate.
Speaking with an estate planning attorney could help reduce the possibility of such challenges.
Reference: Ejinsight (Dec. 10, 2015) "Heirs gird for court battle over late billionaire's fortune."