Sheila von-Wiese Mack created a relatively simple estate plan. She created a trust, whose sole beneficiary was her daughter Heather Mack. Heather was to receive small annual payments, until she reached the age of 30, at which time she was to receive the remainder of $1.6 million. However, Heather could not wait for the inheritance. While on vacation in Indonesia, she and her boyfriend killed Sheila.
The case became famous, as Sheila's body was stuffed into a suitcase. Heather was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison in Indonesia. She continued to garner attention, however, as she was pregnant when she went to prison.
The child, Stella, was born in prison. Heather insisted that the child remain in prison with her, which she was allowed to do, until Stella reached the age of two. Heather's fame continued, since apparently in Indonesia, prisoners have access to social media, where Heather posted pictures of herself partying in prison and even going out to restaurants. The Daily Mail reported on this in "Heather Mack settles claims for mother's estate four years after killing her with her boyfriend - and all the money left will go to her daughter Stella, 3."
The story does not end there. Heather Mack still wanted her inheritance. However, the executor of the estate in Illinois refused to give it to her, since Illinois has a slayer statute. According to the statute, a person cannot receive an inheritance from someone they murdered. Nonetheless, Heather continued to pursue her claim and the resulting lawyer's fees have taken half of the estate's assets to defend. Heather Mack has now finally settled and agreed that all of the estate assets will go to the benefit of Stella. She should have settled for that initially.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your estate plans or when probating an estate or administering a trust, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage a Cincinnati estate planning attorney.
For more information about estate planning, probate or trust administration in Cincinnati (and throughout the rest of Southwest Ohio) and to review free resources regarding estate planning, probate or trust administration, visit my website. If you have questions regarding this article or a particular legal matter, feel free to contact me at 513-399-PLAN (7526).
Reference: Daily Mail (June 22, 2018) "Heather Mack settles claims for mother's estate four years after killing her with her boyfriend - and all the money left will go to her daughter Stella, 3."