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Probate and Estate Litigation Blog

Hugh Hefner's wife left out of his estate plan

Hugh Hefner, the founder of the Playboy media empire, recently died at the age of 91. Minnesotans who were familiar with the mogul's life may remember that he married his third wife in 2012 and she was around 60 years younger than him. In addition to his wife, Hefner is survived by four children from his prior marriages.

Details regarding Hefner's will and estate plan have recently been made public and one very interesting fact is dominating many headlines - Hefner's young wife is not included as a beneficiary under his will. In lieu of allowing his wife to collect from his multi-million dollar fortune, Hefner elected to leave his wealth to his kids, the University of Southern California film school and a variety of charitable organizations.

Insights into this apparently strange omission may be gleaned from a document Hefner and his wife created prior to their wedding. The couple executed a prenuptial agreement before joining together in marriage and it is possible that, through their prenup, the couple came to an agreement regarding how she would be supported in the event of their divorce or his death.

It is often the case that when one partner to a marital couple dies the other will inherit the bulk or all of the decedent's estate. In this case, special care was taken to prohibit a spouse from becoming a beneficiary under her husband's will and, therefore, eliminating her chances of inheriting his vast wealth. As this estate planning story continues to unfold, readers will have to see if any challenges are made to the validity of Hefner's last will and estate plan.

Source: refinery29.com, "Who Will Inherit Hugh Hefner's Fortune?," Natalie Gontcharova, Sept. 28, 2017

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