Bacardi anyone?

December 29, 2023

Another inheritance dispute as hit the news this week, involving assets worth over 700 million and a trust fund at the heart.

Luis Bacardi the great grandson of the founder of the rum business ‘Bacardi’ died in 2006, with his assets being transferred into a trust fund, from which his wife Monika Bacardi and their daughter Maria Luisa receive annual dividends from (worth millions). Monika is currently fighting for Maria to have access to all funds, saying that a trustee is currently implementing the instructions of the fund and this was not her late husbands wish. He apparently wanted to transfer the papers to his daughter, but died before he did so and now she receives the inheritance at a slower rate.

Martin Holdsworth comments;


“Trusts are excellent vehicles for managing wealth. But the power in running those trusts will always vest in the Trustees – so the choice of trustee is as important as the actual terms of the trust itself. Whilst someone putting money or assets into a trust (the “settlor”) can set out their wishes/rules/instructions/observations etc in a document that sits alongside the trust, the reality is that the Trustee’s powers and decision making is their own – they can follow or ignore the advice given by the Settlor. So what happens if, as here, a trust beneficiary is unhappy with the way in which a trust is being run? Invariably claims ensure – often aimed at the conduct of the Trustees in the hope that they can be removed/replaced with more “understanding/friendlier” ones that will administer the trust in a way the beneficiary believes it should (usually to their own benefit of course).

So when a Rum multi-millionaire sets the rules on his trust and his widow doesn’t like it, she is left trying to convince the legal powers that be that the rules and wishes of the deceased have been misunderstood/incomplete and that the rum millionaire’s true intentions are to benefit her and her daughter more. Not easy and not surprised to read that failed in 2 jurisdictions already … where next?” 

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