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North Face and Esprit founder's children fighting over estate


When a parent dies, they hope that their children will settle their estate fairly. But, even the best intentioned plans often end in a family dispute. The founder of 1980s clothing brand, Esprit, has family involved in an estate dispute.

In 2015, the co-founder of North Face and Esprit, Douglas Tompkins, died in an accident in Chile. He had two daughters from his first marriage. In his will, he left all of his assets to his second wife and foundations that they had created in Chile and Argentina to preserve open space. He left none of his estate to his daughters or his 5 grandchildren. One of his daughters is contesting the will in both the United States and Chile. She argues that because he established permanent residency in Chile, the trust he established in California was not valid. The attorney for his widow refutes these claims and says that she was left out of the will because of her lifestyle and values.

Unfortunately, estate disputes can happen in any family. When one heir feels like they are not getting their fair share, they can contest the will or trust. A legal professional who specializes in estate disputes can help heirs work out their grievances. An attorney can help their client through mediation or litigation, if necessary. Family estates can be complicated. A person has the legal right to distribute their estate as they wish but, occasionally, they can be under undue influence or another matter. An attorney can help get the answers an heir is seeking.

Family estates can be complicated and emotional. Frequently disputes emerge and there are questions of inheritance.

Source: sfchronicle.com, "Daughter seeks millions from Esprit co-founder Douglas Tompkins' will," Matier & Ross, Oct. 29, 2017

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