Former Zappos CEO Died Intestate (Celebrity Estate Plans: Part 10)
At only 46 years old, Zappos founder Tony Hsieh tragically died in a house fire in November 2020. He did not execute a Will before he died, which led to an ongoing battle between his family and business colleagues. Specifically, Hseih’s father, Richard, and brother, Andrew, alleged that friends and business associates took advantage of him. Andrew claimed that he would periodically take his brother on trips to remove him from being around those who sought to financially exploit him. Andrew further stated that he sought to stop his brother’s drug usage and wanted to have vitamins and other supplements added to his brother’s food as he became more malnourished (as a result of his drug usage).
Without a will, the court was tasked with determining the disposition of Hsieh’s nearly one-billion-dollar estate. The court originally appointed Andrew and Richard as co-Administrators of the estate, with Andrew resigning during the summer of 2023. Hsieh never married or had children, so, under Nevada law, his parents should inherit his estate. However, among other issues, the estate has been faced with an array of creditor claims, with the co-Administrators arguing that Hseih did not have the requisite capacity to enter into contracts in the months leading up to his death.
The absence of a will or other estate planning documents prolonged the distribution process and required more extensive involvement of attorneys. In fact, it was reported that the estate paid almost $5 million to two law firms for services provided related to administering the estate between June 2020 and June 2023. Thus, the administration of Hseih’s estate is ongoing and moving forward without guidance from Hseih himself.