Larry Hillblom--How Bad Estate Planning Plays Out in Real Life
Warning people about the possible consequences of bad estate planning is akin to warning people
about the dangers of smoking -- they know it’s true, but without a real life example the point often does
not hit home. Unfortunately, if the real life example turns out to be you, then your loved ones may be
the ones paying the price for your bad estate planning. With that in mind, consider the following real
story that should bring the risks of bad estate planning home without your loved ones having to suffer.
If the name Larry Hillblom means nothing to you, then the international shipping company that he
founded, DHL, might. DHL is now used throughout the world and is arguably more widely used outside
of the United States than Federal Express. Hillblom founded the company back in the 1980s. Once he
made his fortune, he decided to drop out of mainstream culture and live out his life on the island of
Saipan. In 1995, Hillblom was on a small commuter plan hopping from one island to another when the
plane apparently went down. Although Hillblom’s body was never found, he was declared dead.
The only Last Will and Testament ever executed by Hillblom was signed in 1982. Under its terms, the
majority of his $600 million fortune was to be held in trust for medical research at the University of
California. Unfortunately, the Will was flawed on a number of levels. Most importantly, nothing was
mentioned about future children. Hillblom did not address them via a bequest but also failed to
specifically disinherit them.
Shortly after his death, four different women came forward claiming that Hillblom was the father of
their child. All four claims were proven to be true. The legal battle over the estate raged for five years,
spanned the globe, involved 200 attorneys and cost a small fortune. In the end, Hillblom’s four children
were awarded 60 percent of his fortune with the remainder to go to UC as per the terms of the Will. Had
Hillblom’s 1982 Will been drafted well, or had he taken the time to update his Will as time went by, the
expense, time and emotional toll caused by the estate battle could have been avoided.
Experienced estate planning attorneys Roseville CA of the John Rogers Burk, A Law Corporation offers
estate planning and business planning resources to residents of Roseville CA. To learn more about these
free resources, please visit www.roseville-estate-planning.com/ today.