Battle Over Diet Doc’s Estate

A legal battle over the management of a diet doctor’s $400 million estate offers lessons in estate planning, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal (sub. req).

Financial advisers say in a lawsuit filed in state court in Miami that the widow of Dr. Robert Atkins breached a 10-year contract when she fired them. They claim the woman’s new husband wanted them out so he could access the money. The widow, Veronica, responded with a lawsuit in a New York state court claiming the advisers, who earned more than $8 million since 2004, engaged in self-dealing.

Experts told the WSJ that Dr. Atkins should have appointed a bank or trust company to help manage the assets he left to his wife in trust when he died in a fall in 2003.

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