Nine Lessons to Be Learned From the Hilton Family Trust Contest

Disclaimers, good communication, post-marital agreements and more could help avoid conflict in a family after the owners of a wealthy estate pass away.

A black-and-white photo from 1960 of Barron and Marilyn Hilton looking at a large bird and its handler in front of a hotel.
Barron Hilton and his wife, Marilyn, at the opening of a new hotel in 1960.
(Image credit: Carl Iwasaki/Getty Images)

This article discusses the contest of Barron Hilton’s family trust, which centers on changes made by Barron Hilton after the death of his wife, Marilyn. Barron gave 97% of his estate to charity, leaving only 3% to his children and family. While the Hilton family’s wealth is beyond our imagination, there are lessons that we can all learn from the steps Barron took to minimize the potential that his family would contest or challenge his wishes. Details from their estate plan may be applicable to us all.

Background on the Hilton family

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John M. Goralka
Founder, The Goralka Law Firm

Founder of The Goralka Law Firm, John M. Goralka assists business owners, real estate owners and successful families to achieve their enlightened dreams by better protecting their assets, minimizing income and estate tax and resolving messes and transitions to preserve, protect and enhance their legacy. John is one of few California attorneys certified as a Specialist by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization in both Taxation and Estate Planning, Trust and Probate.