The heirs of James Jewett Stillman have found themselves in the position of auctioning off art to obtain money to save the estate, according to Bloomberg in "New York Banking Royalty's Heirs Are Unloading Art to Save the Family Estate."
Stillman, who is credited with running the bank that eventually grew into Citigroup, was also known for his valuable art collection. The art collection and his other wealth was intended to last for generations. However, that isn’t necessarily how it is going to work out.
The source of the problem, in this case, appears to be that the trustees who were charged with running the estate have squandered millions of dollars over the years. The estate's funds have run so low that the heirs have no choice but to sell something. Therefore, they have chosen to sell the art.
The immediate lesson to be learned? It is very important to choose trustees carefully and to make sure that trust documents are carefully crafted to make squandering money very difficult.
A qualified estate planning attorney can guide you in creating a plan that will fit your unique circumstances, as well as how to carefully choose a trustee and perhaps protect future generations from themselves.
Reference: Bloomberg (April 4, 2017) "New York Banking Royalty's Heirs Are Unloading Art to Save the Family Estate."