Attorneys for the nephew of the late Christian Audigier are seeking changes in the family’s living trust that will allow the French designer’s widow, a non-U.S. citizen, to claim the marital exemption for estate tax purposes.
Audigier’s most famous brands were Ed Hardy and Von Dutch, but he also worked on lines for Levi’s Diesel, Guess, American Outfitters, Bisou Bisou and XOXO. Two of his biggest celebrity supporters were Madonna and the late Michael Jackson.
Audigier died in July 2015 at age 57 of the bone marrow illness myelodysplastic syndrome, the same disease that “Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts was diagnosed with in 2012.
After Audigier learned he had the disease, he and his longtime partner, Nathalie Sorensen, married in early 2015 so that she could enjoy the tax benefits of a surviving spouse after his death, according to court papers filed Oct. 11 by lawyers for Vincent Audigier. He is a co-trustee of the Audigier living trust along with his late uncle’s widow.
The trust was created in 2005 when Audigier was single. After he married, the trust was reformed to refer to Nathalie Audigier as his wife, according to the attorneys’ court papers. Audigier is also survived by four children.
However, in the last version of the trust, language was left out that would allow Nathalie Audigier, as a foreign citizen, to take advantage of the marital deduction, according to the attorneys’ court papers. They are asking a judge to change the trust to a qualifying domestic trust so that udigier’s widow can receive the marital deduction.
“Reformation of the trust to qualify as a QDOT is necessary to carry out the purposes of the trust,” the attorneys’ court papers state. “In his last will, Christian further indicated his intention that his estate and surviving spouse have the maximum benefit under the marital deduction.”
Audigier married his wife knowing he was near death and because he wanted to make sure the property he left to her “could pass to her free of estate taxes,” according to the lawyers’ court papers.
—City News Service
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