Kirk Douglas was a well-known actor with affluent children and a family worth a fortune. Kirk had set up a charity called the Douglas Foundation which aims to help those who cannot otherwise help themselves and he had always been known to be generous.
Kirk has died leaving his wife Anne and his 3 sons, one of which is Michael Douglas who is estimated to be worth around $300 million. Despite leaving family behind, he has given $50 million of his $61 million estate to the Douglas Foundation. Within English law, an individual can leave their estate to whomever they chose, however we are seeing an increase in people making claims against estates under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 when they have been left out entirely or receive a small amount. Here it would seem clear Kirk’s family had their own wealth and did not need or desire his assets, however in some cases, the family left behind are not so fortunate.
On occasions, we see cases whereby family members believe there should be a moral obligation to leave your estate to your family, however this is not supported by law. Therefore it is always crucial to ensure that you have these discussions with your family prior to your death. Should you decide you do not wish to include certain individuals, it is important to seek legal advice in order to assess whether they will be able to make a claim after your death, and the steps you can put in place to prevent this.
By my colleague Lucy-Allena McIlroy in the Manchester Will, Trust and Estate Disputes team
According to The Mirror, the Douglas Foundation will receive $50 million of his estate. It is not clear where the remaining $11 million will go, but Kirk has reportedly left no money to his actor son Michael Douglas, who is estimated to be worth $278 million himself.