Here's Who Inherited Jeffrey Epstein's Fortune After His Death

The suicide of Jeffrey Epstein in August 2019 caused an immediate uproar from both the media and the public at large. It was the seeming end of a sordid tale of money, power, and the dark world of pedophilia and spurred an outpouring of anger, grief, and conspiracy theories. But even though Epstein may be dead, the saga surrounding his evil and finding reparations for his victims is far from over. 

According to The New York Times, Epstein left behind an estate worth around $600 million at the time of his death. However, that number is now much lower due to costs such as lawyer's fees, legal settlements, and even taxes and upkeep at his sprawling properties while they were on the market.

Due to various expenses, Epstein's estate was estimated at $185 million in January 2022 by The New York Times. Then in November 2022, NBC reported that the estate would pay more than $105 million to the U.S. Virgin Islands, who sued the estate on the grounds that Epstein used his private island in that jurisdiction for sex trafficking purposes. 

Though media outlets have had access to a copy of Epstein's will, the late convicted pedophile was able to cover his tracks by transferring his wealth into a trust, titled the 1953 Trust, which remains sealed to the public. Because of that, the public will likely never entirely know who benefited from the late pedophile's fortune. However, experts say that two different groups will benefit from Epstein's estate: the victims who continue their quest for remuneration, and those close to him that are beneficiaries of his trusts.

The People Epstein Wanted To Reward

As mentioned above, the quest to learn about Epstein's beneficiaries is mired in speculation because of the secrecy surrounding Epstein's trusts. However, there is one person that almost certainly benefits from his estate and one person who likely benefits. The former is the late Epstein's 30-year-old girlfriend, Karyna Shuliak. Epstein dated Shuliak for several years up to his death and had financially supported her in a number of ways, such as helping pay her dental school tuition. Though Shuliak denied commenting to the press about her association with Epstein, The New York Times reported that she is one of his "largest beneficiaries." 

Shuliak stuck by Epstein's side through the end. In fact, she was the only person to have phone calls with Epstein when he was in jail. The first call was on July 30, 2019. The second was made the night before his suicide. Epstein told guards that he was calling his "mother," who died years earlier; in fact, he had called Shuliak.

The second person who "likely" benefits from Epstein's estate is his brother, Mark, per The Daily Mail. Though this remains unverified, the fact that Mark Epstein had at least one business with his late brother and that he had offered up his condo as collateral for Epstein's bail point to the fact that the siblings were on good terms and that there would be no reason to exclude Mark from the estate (via The Daily Beast).

The Mystery Beneficiaries and the Victims

In addition, there might be more mystery beneficiaries. In fact, The St. Thomas Source, a local Caribbean newspaper located just across from Epstein's private island, reported in 2019 that Epstein's will alluded to the fact that he had more beneficiaries who could stake their claims after his death. 

However, these beneficiaries will have to fight the victims of Epstein's crimes, who are still working on getting a piece of his fortune after suffering his abuse. Many of his victims already received some payment from a scheme called the Epstein Victims' Compensation Program. According to Business Insider, the program distributed around $125 million to his accusers. However, many have claimed that it is not enough. Moreover, trust and estate experts have noted that the fund was a clever way to shield Epstein's estate from more transparency and lawsuits. The victims who did not agree to the remuneration set forth by the program have been forced to pursue civil litigation — a long and expensive process. 

But just because civil ligation is long and expensive, it doesn't mean it isn't happening. In fact, Bloomberg reported that on December 13, 2022, a new case was filed against his estate by two women who claimed Epstein had assaulted them in 2003 and 2005. 

But Major Questions Remain

But even when all legal issues are figured out, there remains one last hurdle: how to access Epstein's money. According to The Guardian, just around 48 hours before his suicide, Epstein drafted the will that tied most of his wealth into trust funds. The use of a trust fund not only enabled secrecy about his estate's future but made it substantially more difficult for victims to access their due — plus it likely necessitates the use of tax lawyers, whose fees would eat into their remuneration even more.

Moreover, CBS News noted that throughout his life, Epstein had hidden his wealth in multiple offshore accounts and shell corporations. This makes it likely that there are parts of his estate that remain under the radar and will never be accessed by his victims.

There's also one final question in figuring out who benefits from Epstein's death. The fact that Epstein was able to make a new will in his final days has been extremely controversial, and critics particularly slammed Epstein's lawyers and the New York corrections system as the action of drafting a new will is often a sign of an upcoming suicide attempt. But Epstein's suicide has also left the door open for lawyers to argue that he was not of sound mind when making the document, which would void the trusts and make it easier for victims to collect on his fortune.