Zappos founder Tony Hsieh’s friends, family feud over his $500M fortune; George Finn, Rose Law Group transactional and estate planning attorney, weighs in on the importance of a ‘proper estate strategy’

By Katherine Sayre | Wall Street Journal

More than a year after former Inc. Chief Executive Tony Hsieh died from injuries sustained in a mysterious fire, his family and friends are feuding over the entrepreneur’s estate including financial claims based on deals scribbled on sticky notes.

Mr. Hsieh, known for promoting happiness in the workplace and a fun-loving approach to making profits, died without a will at the age of 46. In the last year of his life, amid the Covid-19 pandemic, he struggled with alcohol and drug use and mental-health issues, people close to him have said. He surrounded himself with an entourage of people in his Park City, Utah, mansion, where the walls were covered with thousands of sticky notes detailing everything from life mantras to financial deals.


“These are the reasons why it is extremely important to have a proper estate plan in place. The family has an extremely burdensome task of trying to sort the management of his estate and the stress and emotional turmoil of navigating the process, all of which could have been avoided.  What the article fails to mention is the amount of taxes the estate will pay. An estate this large will be taxed at 40%, at the federal level, and quite possibly more if there is a state estate tax. A proper estate strategy could have minimized taxes and negate any uncertainty as to the deceased’s intent.”

George Finn, Rose Law Group transactional and estate planning attorney

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December 2021