Stenbeck’s wife gets nothing

The illegitimate son of millionaire financier Jan Stenbeck will receive a large inheritance, while his wife will receive nothing, according to documents handed to the Swedish tax authorities today.

Stenbeck, who died in 2002, left net assets of 638 million kronor. But the real value of the businessman’s legacy is much higher than the value shown in the estate inventory. This is bcause the taxation value of Stenbeck’s shares, calculated at 263 million kronor, is only a fraction of their market value.

According to calculations by news agency TT, the actual value of the share portfolio is 580 million kronor – 317 million more than the taxation value. This takes the total value of the estate to around 955 million kronor.

Stenbeck left two wills. According to the most recent of these, signed in Luxembourg in 1993, the Liechtenstein-based Sapere Aude Trust receives half of the estate. The rest is to be shared between the five children, who get ten percent each.

According to Swedish law, Stenbeck was still married when he died. But as both Stenbeck and his estranged American wife, Merril MacLeod, were resident in the United States she cannot benefit from the Swedish law that gives spouses an automatic right to inherit when the other spouse dies. The pair had started divorce proceedings before he died.

In addition to his illegitimate son, Stenbeck had four children with MacLeod – Cristina, Hugo, Sophie and Max.

“The estate’s total value is calculated on its value when he died, and does not reflect its current worth,” said Per Gratte, lawyer for Stenbeck’s illegitimate son.

“It is hard to say how it will all look at the end of the day, as there are assets and laws in other countries, and there will also be a distribution of the assets.”

According to lawyer Magnus Kindstrand, representing Stenbeck’s estate, there is no argument between the beneficiaries. He added that it was now down to the tax authorities to decide how much inheritance tax the estate was liable for.

Stenbeck died before Sweden axed inheritance tax, meaning his estate will have to pay a substantial amount in death duties.

TT/The Local