Anthony Bourdain Leaves Bulk of Estate to Daughter but Wife Could Contest

According to reports, celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain has left the bulk of his $1.2 million estate to his young daughter, which will be placed into a trust that will make two payouts over her lifetime. Bourdain’s estranged wife, on the other hand, was named executor to the estate will receive his personal effects including furniture, cars, books, and even his frequent flier miles which could be quite valuable given the deceased’s career as a professional traveller.


Documents filed with the Manhattan Surrogate’s Court indicate Bourdain’s estate was worth $1.21 million, including $425,000 in savings, $35,000 in brokerage money, $250,000 in personal property and $500,000 in “intangible property” which includes royalties. Media outlets report that Bourdain’s 11-year-old daughter is the primary beneficiary of his trust which will distribute assets when she is 25 and 30, and disperse the remaining balance when she turns 35 years old.


Establishing trusts for minors is a very common practice in estate planning as it is meant to these young persons do not become overwhelmed by receiving an inheritance all at once, which could lead to financial mismanagement. In the meantime, a guardian appointed by the Surrogate Court will safeguard the younger Bourdain’s estate until the final payouts are made. While all this may seem straightforward, experts reviewing Bourdain’s estate situation believe it may be subject to complications, including potential challengers by the spouse.


Media reports claim it is not quite clear whether or not Bourdain, who was estranged from his wife amid reports of her infidelity, had finalized his divorce after filing for the proceedings years prior. If Bourdain never finalized his divorce, his spouse could be entitled to as much as one-third of the estate, regardless of the nature of the trust created by his last will and testament.


Under New York probate laws, spouses are entitled to receive community property such as homes, cars, and other personal assets. By all accounts, Bourdain’s spouse will receive his New York condo, as well as his personal effects already listed. In New York, surviving spouses automatically receive up to $11,000 in household items, $15,000 in bank accounts or personal property and $10,000 of the value of a car, regardless of whether a last will and testament or trust attempts to exclude the spouse from any or all of these assets.


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