When their father died, Victoria (left) and Marlena Laboz (middle) inherited $20 million — but that money came with conditions. (Photo: Instagram)
A Manhattan millionaire left a generous fortune to his daughters in his will, but their money came with strings attached.
Maurice Laboz, owner of real estate management firm Regal Real Estate, died earlier this year and left his two daughters — Marlena, 21, and Victoria, 17 — $10 million each. (His entire estate was worth $37 million.) And while the money is supposed to roll in when each girl turns 35, Maurice set up conditions for the payouts to start earlier, according to the New York Post, which exclusively reported the story on Monday.
For example, Marlena will receive $500,000 when she marries, “but only if her husband signs a sworn statement promising to keep his hands off the cash,” the paper reports. She’ll also receive a lump sum of $750,000 for graduating from an accredited university and writing a paragraph about what she intends to do with the money. Both daughters will receive three times the income listed on their personal tax returns if they earn a good living by 2020. And if they have kids and don’t work a traditional job, they’ll earn 3 percent of the value of their trust every year — that is, so long as the child is “born in wedlock.”
Yahoo Parenting was unable to reach either of the daughters for comment.
The conditions read like helicopter parenting from the beyond, and estate-planning lawyer Brian Esser says that’s what it amounts to. “It really is about control. When you see these things, it’s about ways for parents and grandparents to control what happens after they die,” Esser tells Yahoo Parenting. “I highly discourage my clients from trying to do things like that. You never know when you will pass, how old kids will be when you die. And if you’re putting a lot of conditions in your will, entangling the estate, you’re creating a lot of difficulty for the executor and the other people involved. You want to draft things cleanly and simply.”
It’s also not financially practical. “Even with clients who want to keep money in trusts for their kids until they are age 30, I remind them that trusts aren’t free,” Esser says. “There is quarterly tax filing and other costs associated with paying investment advisers. If you are tying up money for your children, you are increasing the costs and decreasing the money they are going to get.”
According to Esser, this practice isn’t especially common, though he’d expect it more from wealthier individuals. “It’s something you are more likely to see with people who have a lot of assets,” he explains. “These numbers that are being kicked around — three times somebody’s salary or a lump sum of $750,000 — the average American estate is around $1 million, so most people can’t make stipulations like this.”
Overall, Esser says the practice isn’t good parenting, so he’s happy he doesn’t see it more often. “There are parents who want to control their kids with money, like this dangling carrot, but I’ve never drafted a will that imposes a lot of conditions on children from the grave,” he says. “If anything, my clients are more interested in making sure their children’s needs are met after they’ve passed. They err on the side of making more money available at a younger age.”
And who knows if these conditions will even hold up. Laboz’s will is already being contested by his wife, Ewa, whom he was in the process of divorcing and to whom he left nothing. According to the Post, Laboz left the rest of his fortune to charity.