In Sumner Redstone Affair, His Decline Upends Estate Planning by James B. Stewart

Sumner M. Redstone is estimated to have a wealth exceeding $5 billion but with all this money, he certainly did not spend enough on estate planning. James B. Stewart explains the story of the 93 year old mogul and the multitude of lawsuits that are coming his way.

[Philippe] Dauman is the chief executive of Viacom, and was — until recently — Mr. Redstone’s longtime confidant and a trustee of the trust that controls 80 percent of National Amusements (his daughter owns the remaining 20 percent). National Amusements in turn owns 80 percent of the voting stock in both CBS and Viacom.

Mr. Dauman now finds himself in the seemingly contradictory position of arguing that Mr. Redstone, as his lawsuit asserts, “suffers from profound physical and mental illness,” only months after he said in court papers filed in Ms. Herzer’s case that Mr. Redstone was “engaged and attentive.” (Mr. Dauman maintains in his lawsuit that Mr. Redstone has deteriorated since then.)

Mr. Redstone “now faces a situation where it appears that people around him are competing for control and each has their own objectives,” said Georgiana Slade, head of the trusts and estates group at the law firm of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy in New York. “It seems that many people with an interest are attempting to influence decisions related to his estate, the trust and Viacom. But the real question should be: What does Mr. Redstone himself want?”

The elderly population is growing and there is a real issue now with caregivers, family members, ex-lovers, taking advantage of these aging individuals with large or even modest wealth.

Read the rest of the story here: In Sumner Redstone Affair, His Decline Upends Estate Planning

Posted by Allison Trupp, Associate Editor, Wealth Strategies Journal