Estate Litigation

September 03, 2013

[statement]“There were seven executors, all of whom retained separate counsel and were debating who would get control over Arthur Sackler’s huge art collection. It took several years, but we were able to resolve the case successfully for our clients.” – John J. Barnosky, Partner[/statement]

It took Arthur Sackler decades to amass his world-renowned collection of more than 20,000 pieces of contemporary and ancient Asian art; it took just days after his death for his seven executors to begin protracted litigation to determine the fate of his estimated $140 million estate.

A benefactor of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Sackler Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., the psychiatrist, entrepreneur and philanthropist decided to appoint seven executors to his estate: his first wife, some children of his first marriage, some children of his second marriage, his lawyer and his third wife.

“In his naiveté, Sackler thought that these people would work together despite the enormous wealth at stake. After his death, each executor retained separate counsel and began debating who would get control of his huge art collection,” explained John J. “Jack” Barnosky, partner in the Farrell Fritz Estate Litigation group who represented Sackler’s minor grandchildren.

“It took several years, but we were able to resolve the case successfully and protect the grandchildren’s economic interests.”