Probate, trust, guardianship and inheritance litigation
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Former Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh Dies Intestate With Reported Net Worth Of $840 Million

Tony Hsieh, the former CEO of Zappos, passed away tragically after being caught in a house fire last week in Connecticut.  Court documents filed in Nevada reveal that Hsieh did not leave a will, and died intestate.  Hsieh’s net worth is reported to be an estimated $840 million.

As reported in the Daily Mail, Hsieh’s father, Richard, and brother, Andrew, have asked for an order allowing them access to Hsieh’s accounts.  Hsieh’s mother and other brother were listed as the next of kin.

It was reported that:

Documents filed in court in Nevada on Wednesday on behalf of his family said they are ‘unaware of the existence of a fully executed estate plan and have a good faith belief that the Decedent died intestate.’

Hsieh’s father Richard Hsieh and his brother Andrew Hsieh have asked for an order that would allow them to access his accounts and protect his assets. His mother Judy and other brother David were listed as next of kin.

The family’s lawyers wrote that they ‘seek authority to investigate the existence of an estate plan by accessing safe deposit boxes, speaking with the Decedent’s legal counsel and associates, and taking such other reasonable acts to ensure that Decedent’s properly executed testamentary directives are implemented.’

What Happens When Someone Dies Intestate?

When someone dies intestate, state law controls the distribution of their estate assets.  Hsieh was a resident of Nevada when he died.  Nevada law therefore controls the distribution of the assets in Tony Hsieh’s intestate estate.

According to Nevada’s intestate succession laws, when someone dies without a spouse or children, the decedent’s parents inherit the estate.

Section 134.050, Nevada Revised Statutes, states

If the decedent leaves no issue or surviving spouse, the estate goes one-half to one parent of the decedent and one-half to the other parent of the decedent, if both are living. If both parents are not living, the whole estate goes to the parent then living.

Read Who Are Next Of Kin In Nevada to learn more.

We recently also wrote about Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman dying without a will.  In addition to Tony Hsieh, other well-known people who have died intestate without leaving a will include Jimi Hendrix, Michael Jackson, and Sonny Bono.

Sometimes a will is found after an estate has been opened as an intestate estate.  It is entirely possible that Tony Hsieh’s family, once they have access to any safe deposit boxes and personal files, could discover estate planning documents that were executed by him.  In this case, the family could seek to admit any will to probate, and convert the estate to a testate proceeding.

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