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Koch Bros Sue Cato Institute: William A. Niskanen's Estate Implicated

The very rich billionaire brothers, Charles and David Koch, who are very involved with libertarian politics, are suing the influential libertarian think tank, Cato Institute, and it’s all about estate law, reports Washington Post.

It is not totally rare for big estates and politics (especially Republican politics) to overlap, as we learned with the Mitt Romney dynasty trust issue, reported on FindLaw’s New York Estate Planning Law Blog.

The Cato Institute was originally called the Charles Koch Foundation. Now Charles and David are having to sue a shareholder's wife after her husband passed away. The widow, Kathryn Washburn, apparently holds the shares that her husband William A. Niskanen held before his death.

The Koch brothers suit against Cato's documents are available here.

According to the complaint, the estate issue arose because Kathryn Washburn is the personal representative of William A. Niskanen's estate. Under the terms of the will, there is no specific bequest of the Niskanen shares to Washburn. The Koch brothers want Washburn to sell the shares to them as per the Shareholders Agreement that controls Cato Institute.

All of this argument serves to once again underscore how important it is to have specificity in a will.

An estate planning attorney familiar with the entirety of a person's assets is probably more likely to be able to help draft a will that limits the disputes that could arise after the testator's death.

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