A charitable foundation set up by artist Robert Rauschenberg is challenging the decision of a Florida judge to award $24.6 million to the deceased man’s three friends. The money was awarded to the friends for their efforts in overseeing the artist’s estate.
The chairman of the foundation says that he and other board members felt it was their job to appeal the judge’s decision. He says that he and the other directors must protect the foundation’s best interests in order to further its charitable mission. Still, he said that they would ultimately respect any rulings made by the court system on the matter.
The foundation provides grants to environmental and arts organizations. It also gives residencies to artists who wish to stay on Captiva Island in Florida.
Robert Rauschenberg passed away in 2008 at the age of 82. The three trustees who oversaw his trust, the Robert Rauschenberg Revocable Trust, originally asked to receive $60 million in fees. During court, they lowered their demand to between $55 and $51 million. The trustees argued that their plan to withdrawal the artist’s work from the market upon his death served to elevate the value of his estate exponentially, from $606 million to $2.2 billion over a period of four years.
When it comes to estate and will planning, it is best to evaluate as many angles as possible, especially when the estate is considerably large. Indeed, in the case of large estates, individuals may try to contest a will or other estate documentation in court. This is why it is important to make estate documentation as clear and succinct as possible to ensure that one’s wishes are carried out to the letter after one’s passing.
Source: ArtNet News, “Rauschenberg Foundation Appeals $25 Million Payout to Artist’s Friends” Philip Boroff, Aug. 14, 2014