In which we discover just what the Harriman Trust means.
Can you say "game-changer"?
I knew you could.
Yeah. When we find out we have more money than Zeus? It gave us options!
And for me?
Dreams can turn into reality with enough cash.
Chapter 30: If I Were A Rich Girl
“…under the laws of the Sonoran Republic, the act of marriage nullifies any and all previous Last Wills and Testaments.”
“Agreed, Your Honor.”
“Therefore, under statute S.R. 15-221B, the estate of Derek Delos James is duly passed to his widows, Aiyana Cassidy Foster-Briggs and Kendra Marissa Cassidy, in equal portion. Are there any objections?” Nobody spoke. This hearing was a formality, with all the relevant considerations thrashed out beforehand.
“Very well. It is so ordered. Wayland,” the judge said to the court recorder. “Get copies of that to the various parties, plus a file copy to the Department of Records.”
“Yes, Judge Thacker.”
“Unless there is any other business?” Silence again. “Very good. The court is dismissed.”
Walking out, Cass said to attorney Leach, “That was it? Five weeks of waiting, and we get ten minutes in court?”
“I assure you, there was much more involved than just ten minutes,” sniffed Leach. “As I’m certain you’ll discover when you receive your bill.”
“Oh, calm down, Archie,” said Kendra. “We know you worked your ass off to make this as smooth as it was.”
Leach was torn between pleasure at his efforts being recognized and annoyance at Kendra’s crude manner of expression. “Rather.”
Aiyana asked, “What happens next?”
“Since he is the estate’s Executor, the court will officially notify Baddiscombe at Milton, Chadwick & Waters. He is already aware of the official decision, but the forms must be observed, of course.”
“Of course,” agreed Kendra. Leach missed the sly smile she tossed at Cass.
“He’ll transmit documentation to our firm, which you will need to sign.”
“In person?” said Kendra, frowning.
“Yes. It is a legal requirement.”
“There’s no way to get around it?”
“Not if you wish to have the estate released to you, no.” Leach’s tone was arid.
“What about inheritance tax?” asked Cass.
“None applies to the estate,” said Leach. “Mr. James was Sonoran by birth and by residence, so the laws of the Republic take primacy, and the Republic does not collect an estate tax. Ladies, if there’s nothing else, I need to return to the office and await the documents. I will be in touch as soon as it arrives.” With that, Leach strode away.
“What a pompous git,” complained Cass after he left and their scattered escort gathered to them.
“He’s not so bad,” countered Kendra. “There was this one lawyer in Frisco I had to deal with…”
Leach was as accurate as he was arrogant. Kendra and Cass trekked with their escort back into town within a day. They met in his office and signed, and signed, and signed, and initialed, and fingerprinted, and were finally officially made the inheritors of Derek’s estate, including the D.D. Harriman Trust. The process took so long the carafe of ice water was half-gone and nearly room temperature before they finished.
“Mr. Leach,” asked Cass when everything was signed. “Can you tell us, now, just how much the estate entails?”
“All the details are in that printout –” He gestured to a book-thick stack of paper on the desk. “- And in the electronic version you received when we filed with the state.”
“Yes, of course it is,” agreed Kendra, seeing Cass’s cheeks redden. Going back to childhood, this was never a good sign, and Kendra wanted to avoid any scenes. “But you’re the expert since you’ve dealt with it the past weeks.”
Feathers appropriately smoothed, Leach said, “There are many ways to calculate the value, which is further complicated by the fact the holdings are scattered, not only across the planet but across the system. Add to that the various exchange rates and the liquid- and non-liquid nature of the holdings, and any estimate I might give you will almost certainly be inaccurate.”
“Of course,” repeated Kendra. “We understand, and we’re not asking for a precise accounting. After all, you’ve already provided it.” She pointed at the printout. “If you could, though, give us a rough estimate? Please?”
Leach sighed. “A very rough estimate. No legal standing, you understand.”
“Oh, no. An idea,” agreed Kendra.
Leach turned deadly serious. “This is entirely hypothetical, assuming total liquidation of your positions, at least those easily liquidated. There are some, quite a good number, I’m afraid, which simply cannot be converted to cash in any reasonable sort of period.”
“Yes,” agreed Kendra again. She’d forgotten how much she loved dealing with lawyers. Maybe because it was always so painful, and the brain blots out those memories?
“Then, at today’s exchange rates, minus various fees and taxes on the gains, plus…” Leach leaned back, looking upward as he performed extensive mental calculations. Cass took the time to sip at her glass of water. At length, he sat forward.
“Roughly speaking, twenty-seven trillion Sonoran credits.”
Cass sprayed water across the desk and Leach.
“My dear woman!” exclaimed Leach, jumping out of his chair. “If you please!”
Cass was too busy choking to answer.
“Sorry, Mr. Leach!” said Kendra on her behalf. “Cass, you okay?”
Cass managed to nod.
“Twenty. Seven. Trillion?” she gasped.
“Roughly,” reiterated Leach, dabbing at his suit with a handkerchief.
“We’ll pay for your cleaning,” assured Kendra.
“Naturally.” Leach’s tone suggested he wasn’t mollified.
Cass finally regained her composure and voice.
“You said that’s a rough estimate of what we have, liquid and easily liquified.”
“Correct,” said Leach icily.
“And that’s assuming some losses,” she continued.
“Considerable losses,” amended Leach.
“Then,” pressed Cass, “What if we considered purely liquid assets? Cash, stocks, commodities?”
“Hmm,” pondered Leach, sitting down again. “That’s somewhat easier to figure. Those assets would only come to approximately ten trillion Sonoran credits.”
“Ten trillion,” repeated Kendra hollowly.
“Give or take a trillion,” clarified Leach.
“One more question,” said Cass.
“One,” agreed Leach, his tone thin.
“What is the total value of the estate, as is, leaving everything in place?”
“It’s on page 497 of the index before you,” said the aggrieved Leach.
Cass flipped open the volume, turned to the page, and said, “Forty-two trillion Sonoran credits?”
“Forty-two trillion, one hundred six billion, seven hundred eighty-three million, two thousand, nine hundred six and thirty-one hundredths credits, as of the time of printing,” Leach said pedantically. “If you require a more precise answer, I suggest you hire a team of accountants and find it yourself! Good day!”
Still staggered, the women left the office.
“Ten trillion in cash?” confirmed Stone when they got home.
“Plus or minus a trillion,” said Kendra, still in shock.
“Holy crap,” said Montana.
“That’s, I mean, wow, I don’t even think, wait, how much is that in dollars?” asked Mac.
“No clue,” admitted Kendra. “SARAH, what’s the conversion rate today, credits to dollars?”
“Which dollar, Kendra? Texas? Big Sky? The United States?”
“United States.” Texas and Big Sky were pegged to the States’ dollar.
“One credit is equal to twelve point eight six three dollars,” said SARAH.
“Over five hundred trillion dollars,” whistled Montana. “If you didn’t already own OutLook, I’d say buy it and throw the bitch out.”
“Funny you should say that,” smiled Kendra.