12th January 2013: Killed By Death


Vanity Fair‘s Rich Cohen gives some family estate planning advice about United States billionaire and private equity maven Teddy Forstmann:


In the months following his death, his art collection was sold at Sotheby’s, bringing in $83 million. His Manhattan penthouse was sold in June 2012 for $40 million. The house on Meadow Lane in Southampton is on the market for $31 million. It seems as if little he collected has been preserved, but has instead been broken up and sold. Teddy, at least in part, measured his success in dollars: he was forever in search of a higher percentage, a bigger return. That was the game, how he kept score. If you judge by how big and how much, then, in the end, no matter your charity or causes, that’s what you’ll become in the minds of other people. Teddy was one of the richest men in the country, with his paintings, his mansion, his helicopter and plane. And when he died, that’s what remained: the fortune and the estate. If you are money, then, when you die, you will be spent.


You might start with Gregory Curtis’s book The Stewardship of Wealth (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2012) for estate planning and inter-generational wealth transfer.