The Larry Hillblom Story – Case in Point for Updating Your Estate Plan

Although you might not be familiar with the name Larry Hillblom, you have probably utilized the business he founded or a minimum of heard of it. Hillblom was one of the establishing partners of the worldwide shipping business DHL. The “H” stands for Hillblom. Hillblom is likewise famous for the multi-national legal battle over his estate that followed his death.

After Hillblom made his fortune, he decided to leave to the little tropical island of Saipan. Hillblom lived there, without marrying, up until a plane he was traveling in on an island hop went missing out on in 1995. At the time of his death, Hillblom’s estate was valued at close to $600 million.
Although Hillblom performed a Last Will and Testament in 1982, the Will was flawed in more than one way. Most significantly, it had nothing in it that dealt with any future kids that Hillblom might daddy. The Will left most of Hillblom’s enormous estate to a trust with instructions that the loan was to be utilized for medical research study by the University of California.

Shortly after his death, 4 different women stepped forward claiming that Hillblom was the dad of their child– one was still pregnant at the time. Subsequent DNA tests showed that Hillblom was, indeed, the father of all 4 children. A legal fight that was waged in both the United States and Saipan ensued. 5 years, 200 legal representatives, and an unknown quantity of cash later, the children of Hillblom were awarded 60 percent of his estate with the balance to be utilized to money the trust produced by the original Will.
Whether Hillblom would have voluntarily consisted of these children in his Will or not, we will never know. Hillblom definitely could have updated his Will to consist of a bequest to the children in an amount less than, or more than, what they were eventually awarded. Hillblom also might have selected to specifically disinherit the children. Considering that he did neither of these, we will never ever understand what his intents or wishes were.

Even if you are not lucky adequate to have a $600 million estate, the lessons learned from Hillblom apply– update your estate plan on a regular basis and especially when life changes require revisions.