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Inheritances possibly complicated by Steve Jobs' family tree

When technological genius and Apple founder Steve Jobs died on October 5 at the age of 56, speculation increased about his estate and who would be in line to receive inheritances. Unlike some other famous people, Jobs knew his battle against cancer would cut his life short; which in turn allowed him some time to consider inheritances he might make. However, his family circumstances were a bit more complicated than average, starting with the fact he never met his biological father. The 80-year-old Abdul Fattah Jandali lives in Nevada, where he is Vice-Chairman of the Boomtown Casino and Hotel in Reno.

Jandali was a Syrian national who immigrated to the United States in 1954, eventually making it to Wisconsin University, where he met and dated the woman who would become Steve Jobs' biological mother. When she became pregnant, her parents forbade her to marry Jandali, and he left a few days before Jobs was born. As a newborn, Jobs was adopted by a California couple, who raised him along with a non-biological sister. Jandali reappeared a few months after the adoption and married Jobs' mother. But he left again soon after a baby girl was born, returning to Syria in search of economic stability.

Jobs' adoptive parents have since passed away. Jobs married Lauren Powell in 1991, with which he had three children. He also has a daughter from a previous relationship. His biological parents survived him, as did his biological sister (the novelist Mona Simpson) and his adoptive sister. While the biological relatives have no legal standing to inherit due to Jobs' adoption, the question of inheritances will likely be resolved according to the instructions Jobs devised when he created his estate plan.

While it is tragic that the life of a genius such as Jobs was cut short by pancreatic cancer, Jobs was at least in a position to contemplate and effectuate an estate plan prior to his death. Since his estate is reputed to be in the billions of dollars, the planning was no doubt worth the effort. In Nevada, those contemplating succession planning would do well to consult an attorney devoted to helping people provide for the inheritances they wish to make in the manner in which they wish to make them.

Source: Al Arabia News, "The life and times of Steve Jobs' Syrian father," Kamal Kubaissy, Oct. 9, 2011

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