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Zaha Hadid leaves £70 million fortune

3rd Zaha Hadid
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The late Zaha Hadid left a £70 million estate – and business partner Patrik Schumacher is the only non-family beneficiary named in her will

Hadid’s will and grant of probate, public documents obtained by the AJ, show that she owned an estate worth £70,784,564 at the time of her sudden death last March.

As well as being a beneficiary, Schumacher is one of four executors. He is also the only Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) office-holder named in the will, as well as the only non-family member to have been left a lump-sum: an immediate gift of £500,000.

The £70 million figure is the gross value of all Hadid’s assets in the UK, including ZHA, for which she was the sole shareholder, her other companies, plus her own private wealth, such as her penthouse apartment in Clerkenwell.

While Schumacher, as sole principal, is widely viewed as Hadid’s successor at ZHA, the contents of the will shed fresh light on her intentions about succession at the global firm that bears her name.

Among the beneficiaries the estate will eventually pass to are Schumacher, past, current and future employees and office holders of her various companies, architecture and educational charity the Zaha Hadid Foundation, other charities, and Hadid’s family members and their spouses.

The will also gives executors the power to add further beneficiaries of their choosing. Although a typical will might see an estate distributed within two years, Hadid’s gives executors 125 years from the date of her death to distribute hers.

The will’s executors are Schumacher, Hadid’s niece Rana Hadid, artist Brian Clarke and property developer Peter Palumbo

Alongside Schumacher, the other executors of the will are Hadid’s niece, architect Rana Hadid, and two close friends, artist Brian Clarke and property developer Peter Palumbo.

Hadid named Rana Hadid, Clarke and Schumacher as executors on 2 April 2015, and added Palumbo less than a fortnight later on 14 April.

Palumbo, a former chairman of the Serpentine Gallery, was a client of Hadid’s and jury chairman of the 2004 Pritzker Prize, which Hadid won – the first woman to do so.

Hadid and schumacher crop

Hadid and schumacher crop

Zaha Hadid with Patrik Schumacher at Evelyn Grace Academy

Experts said Hadid’s will was likely to have been accompanied by a non-legally binding private letter of wishes, setting out her intentions for the estate in greater detail to the executors.

Ceris Gardner, partner at private wealth law firm Maurice Turnor Gardner, told the AJ: ‘The only guidance is likely to be in that letter of wishes, which almost certainly will have accompanied this will. But it is not a public document.

‘The executors [have] the power to split it up as they want to; divide as they want to. They could give the whole lot to the charity; they could give the whole lot to the family; they could give the whole lot to Patrik; depending on what they choose to do and – more importantly – how they are guided by the letter of wishes.’

If executors do not agree on how the estate should be distributed, or take no action within 125 years, it will pass to the Zaha Hadid Foundation. However, executors may face a legal challenge if they do not distribute the estate in the best interests of beneficiaries.

The trustees of the foundation are the same individuals as the executors: Schumacher, Clarke, Palumbo and Rana Hadid, who was appointed as a trustee in July 2016 following Hadid’s death.

The documents show that Hadid, who died in Miami following a heart attack, had at the time of her death more than £3 million in debt, meaning the estate’s net value is £67,249,458.

As well as the £500,000 Hadid gifted to Schumacher, she left a further £500,000 each to three named family members and £100,000 each to another two.

A mistake on the will recorded the date of her death as the 31 May 2016, instead of the correct date, 31 March 2016. According to Gardner, this does not mean the will is invalid, and it could be amended, subject to a fee.

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