Troy Phelan , an eccentric, reclusive, ruthless billionaire businessman, commits suicide. In order to cut his family out of his will, he makes a fake will a few hours before his suicide, putting his family into that will. Minutes before his suicide, he shows his lawyer a new will that he would like carried out. This will leave only enough money to each of his heirs to pay off their debts up until the day of his death, and leaves everything else to Rachel Lane, an illegitimate daughter that none of his family and associates have known about.
Josh Stafford , Troy's lawyer, confidante, and executor, must find Rachel, but he knows only that she is a missionary somewhere in Brazil. He decides to assign Nate O'Riley, former high-powered litigator and recovering alcoholic, to find her. Nate is emerging from his fourth stay in rehab, and he reluctantly agrees to go. Josh manipulates the situation from behind the scenes.
Rachel Lane , an illegitimate daughter who Troy wills eleven billion dollars to. She is a missionary in Brazil who wants nothing to do with the money and refuses to sign any legal papers. She was re-contacted by her father when she was a teenager. Troy paid for her to study at college, but she then disappeared into medical school and seminary. She died by contracting malaria.
Nate O'Riley , the lawyer sent to find Rachel Lane. He has been off-and-on drugs/alcohol several times, crashing harder every time. A workaholic whose habits have shattered both of his marriages, he is sent to Brazil to get him away from the office. He has two children from his first marriage and two younger children from his second marriage. His encounter with Rachel eventually sets him on a path to spiritual redemption. He grew feelings for Rachel, before she passed away.
The Phelan Children , six children that were born to three different women (a seventh one died in a car accident). All of them, despite being given The Gift of $5 million at the age of 21 - are either broke or heavily in debt. They are desperate for a cut of Troy's wealth and employ even greedier lawyers.