The Getty family, one of America’s wealthiest clans, today resolved a bitter feud over disposition of a $4-billion trust and agreed to divide it into four smaller trusts of $750 million each.
Agreement was reached after the attorney for 16-year-old Tara Getty ended his lone opposition to the settlement and told Superior Court Judge Richard P. Byrne that he had reconsidered and agreed to sign it in the interest of “family peace.”
The lawyer, Seth Hufstedler, had disagreed with the other 25 heirs on the ground that the settlement did not make adequate provision for future Getty offspring.
Hufstedler said his change of mind came after talking to many of the heirs.
“The obvious alternative is years and years of bitter litigation,” he said.
Details of the complicated trust division were not immediately available because it was under temporary court seal, but attorney Richard A. Haas, who represents Gordon Getty, explained parts of the proposal at a court hearing last week.
4 Smaller Trusts
Haas said the settlement basically calls for the $4-billion Sarah Getty Trust--set up in 1934 by oil baron J. Paul Getty and his mother, Sarah Getty--to be divided into four smaller trusts totaling about $750 million each.
The remaining $1 billion has already been set aside for payment of state and federal capital gains taxes.
Gordon Getty, 51, and Eugene Paul Getty Jr., 52, two of J. Paul Getty’s sons, are each to oversee a $750-million trust. A third $750-million trust would be shared by the three daughters of another of J. Paul Getty’s sons, George Franklin Getty II, who died in 1973.
The fourth $750-million trust would be divided into three parts so that J. Paul Getty’s disfavored fourth son, Jean Ronald Getty, would get only about $3,000 a year, while the remaining trust income would be distributed to other beneficiaries.
The settlement also requires that Gordon Getty, one of the world’s richest men, surrender his title as sole trustee of the entire $4-billion family trust.