Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Okay, How Stupid Are Rich People? Pretty Stupid as the Tompkins Trust Management Show

How Do Rich People Stay Rich When They Do Such Dumb Things?

One of the good things about having rich forbearers is that if they were decent and loving and caring people they left you a bunch money.  Usually this money is left in a trust, and managed by a Trust Company.  So all  you have to do is deposit the monthly check, and if they have direct deposit you don’t even have to do that.

So this brings us to the story of the Tompkins family, and their problems.

Brendan Hoffman/Prime for The Wall Street Journal
Charles H. Tompkins III outside his home in Washington,
 Va. He and other heirs to a family trust want
 to fire Chevy Chase Trust.

Funny, he looks bright enough

The family, whose fortune came from a construction company founded in 1911, moved two trust accounts in 2005 to a company associated with Chevy Chase Bank. Now, some heirs of Charles H. and Lida Tompkins, the founders of the company that built the reflecting pool at the Lincoln Memorial and other Washington landmarks, want to move their money again.

The problem is they can't.

Gee, we all wonder why they can’t move their money to another manager.  People do this all the time, you just call the new firm and tell them they are now in charge.  Unless of course you were dumb enough to do this.

In their haste to flee Riggs, which was eventually sold to another bank, the family signed an unusual agreement that prohibits it from pulling the money from Chevy Chase unless all 94 family members who are beneficiaries of the trust agree. Having failed to secure familial unanimity, 10 of the grandchildren are now suing Chevy Chase Trust for the right to pull the funds.

The plaintiffs acknowledge that they just weren't paying attention to the legal details they are now trying to overturn. "Nobody focused on it," said Charles H. Tompkins III, one of the grandchildren who has filed a lawsuit against the trust.

Gosh, these are rich people who can afford the best possible legal advice, and they surely have at least a grade school education so they knew enough to get some legal advice and they can read, because most grade school students can so they could have read the agreement and known that getting 94 members of a family to all agree on anything was impossible.

In a very few situations people get what they deserve.  This story is brought to everyone just so we can all enjoy that in this case.

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