Estate Planning Lessons from Public Figures

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Passare.com shutterstock 547030351 Estate Planning Lessons from Public Figures lessons grief Family Estate planning end of life planning

Celebrities can seem larger-than-life when they’re performing but they make mistakes just like the rest of us in real life. We’d like to share a few Estate Planning tips taken from deceased celebrities that could help make your End-of-Life planning a little easier.
The recent passing of Robin Williams got many people talking about the importance of making a solid End-of-Life plan – not because his story was a cautionary tale. By all accounts, Williams was well prepared to care for his family after he was gone. He worked with an estate planning professional to ensure he had his affairs in order so his family could avoid some of the complications other celebrity families have endured.

Since Williams had children from different marriages, it was important he had an estate plan that was clear. Plans that are open to interpretation can lead to contentious family arguments especially when you have mixed families.

Most people think of a Will as the essential estate-planning document but one downside is they are subject to probate court (and public scrutiny). Williams and his advisors knew this so they kept his family affairs from being made public by setting up a revocable trust.

Here are some advantages to setting up a revocable trust:

  1. Revocable trusts are private documents that do not go through probate court. They allow you to distribute your assets privately.
  2. Revocable trusts let you control how and when your loved ones will receive your assets.
  3. Parents often hold money in a trust for their children until they reach an age where they can responsibly manage their finances.
  4. Revocable trusts let you appoint a trusted adviser to act as a trustee and handle financial matters during the early part your child’s life.
  5. Revocable trusts give you flexibility to make changes to your estate plan without the same level of formality a Will involves.

One downside of a revocable trust is they cost more to set up, but unless you live in a state where the probate process is simple, the cost of preparing a trust will be less than the cost of hiring an attorney to go to probate court.

Keep in mind a revocable trust doesn’t work unless you transfer assets into the name of the trust. Many times, people make the mistake of creating a trust, but forget to transfer their property or financial accounts into the name of the trust.

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