Jeffrey Epstein is dead, but the investigation into the allegations against him are far from over. Amid mounting speculation over how the convicted sex offender killed himself in a high-security prison cell, his death has also raised questions around what will now happen to his alleged vast fortune.
It is unclear whether the 66-year-old had a will. He was not married and did not have children. He has three known relatives — a younger brother named Mark, whom he named as a core surety of his bond when he tried to seek bail last month — and a niece and nephew.
But the immediate future of his estate will now fall on investigators, who may try to seize assets that can be sold and used to compensate his accusers.
How much money did Epstein have?
Epstein's wealth has long been shrouded in mystery, with new details about his links to billionaires only recently coming to light.
While he himself is often referred to as a billionaire, Epstein's self-reported assets totalled just over US$559.1 million ($864.8m), according to filings published by Courthouse News.
These included US$56m in cash, US$14m in a fixed income, US$112m in equities, US$194m in hedge funds and private equity, and the combined values of six properties.
But we still don't know the details of where his money came from, and where or with whom it is being kept.
Two of the banks that did business with the financier, Deutsche Bank and JPMorgan, have been going through their records in order to figure out what he used his accounts for.
In July, Deutsche Bank flagged with authorities that Epstein had suspiciously been moving money out of the US, according to The New York Times.
It's also known that he had ties to political movers and shakers, having invested US$30m in a private-equity fund alongside the husband of California Senator Dianne Feinstein.
It's also been reported Epstein donated large amounts of money to select scientific research units and universities.
He was interested in cryogenics, an unverified science involving freezing human bodies and later bringing them back to life. One source told the Times he "wanted his head and penis to be frozen" upon his death.
He also donated US$6.5m to Harvard University, which in the wake of his latest arrest said it "has no plans to return" the money.
Epstein's accusers to pursue his estate
While the criminal case against Epstein ended with his suicide, his accusers can still pursue civil claims against his estate for damages.
It is expected that new victims who have come forward in recent months will seek compensation.
Lawyers for several women who say they were sexually abused by the disgraced financier intend on filing civil claims against his estate in the wake of his death.
Los Angeles lawyer Lisa Bloom, who represents two of the women, told Reuters "we intend to promptly file those civil claims" having held off suing while federal prosecutors pursued sex trafficking charges against Epstein.
New York lawyer Roberta Kaplan has promised to pursue his estate on behalf of a client to take advantage of a new New York State law which makes it possible to pursue decades-old claims of abuse.
"I can promise you I will get to them on behalf of my client, come hell or high water," she said, according to the Financial Times.
The woman Kaplan represents was 14 when the abuse happened, the lawyer said.
The ability to file civil suits varies by state. In New York, the recently signed Child Victims' Act means anyone who was a victim of child sexual abuse can file a civil suit against their abuser until they are 55.
In Florida, however, those who allege to have been abused by Epstein more than a decade ago may face more of an uphill battle.
Last month, federal prosecutors laid out their intention to confiscate the billionaire's properties that were linked to the sexual abuse of underage girls, on the basis that they were used to facilitate crimes.
The status of the sex offender's will is not clear, but lawyers have called for freezing the estate for possible claims.
Under US forfeiture laws, hard assets like homes can be sold and the proceeds put into a special fund inside the Department of Justice, with a judge to determine what ultimately happens to the proceeds, the Miami Herald reported.
Epstein may have chosen a personal representative to administer his estate after his death, but this selection could be contested by his accusers.
At the same time, authorities could still file a civil forfeiture case to confiscate his properties.