The estate of late Soundgarden superstar Chris Cornell is reportedly being disputed by his widow and ex-wife. This dispute allegedly occurred after it was found that Cornell’s daughter had dropped out of tertiary study.
Why is the estate being disputed?
Part of Cornell’s divorce agreement, settled in 2004, was that a trust fund would be set up for their daughter’s education, with funds withdrawn when needed. Cornell’s daughter allegedly enrolled in tertiary education in 2018, with fees costing around US $21,000 per semester. However, it has been revealed that Cornell’s daughter had dropped out at the start of her second semester, reportedly after the trust had paid the fee.
Reports state that Cornell’s widow is asking that no further funds be paid to his daughter, unless it is shown that she is re-enrolled in tertiary education. The matter is yet to be resolved, however, it’s possible that if the tertiary provider were to refund Cornell’s daughter for the semester she didn’t study, she wouldn’t need to give the money back to the trust, rather, deduct it from future educational expenses.
Where do trust funds fit into estate planning?
A trust fund is created to provide either a beneficiary or a charity with ongoing financial support after your passing. These are made for a number of reasons, but usually are for the maintenance of living conditions, or to further the educational pursuits of beneficiaries. The different types of trusts include:
- Family discretionary trusts, divided into different streams of income for beneficiaries as outlined in the deceased’s Will.
- Children’s trusts, determined as stated in the deceased’s Will and administered for educational and living costs.
- Charitable trusts, to give regular income to a supported group. This can be in the form of scheduled payments, or sponsoring scholarships, for example.
- Trust funds for adults who lack the capacity to administrate their own finances.
As trust funds distribute money in a similar way to regular income, it’s important that if you are to provide beneficiaries with lump sum payments that this is clearly stated in your Will. Failure to effectively communicate your financial intentions will not only confuse those concerned with inheritance, but will likely result in a Will dispute.
If you believe you have been wrongfully omitted from a Will, or are in the middle of disputing the division of an estate, it’s vital to get in touch with the team at Gerard Malouf and Partners Will Disputes Lawyers to support your claim.