When a family experiences a loss, the last thing they usually want is publicity. For families with loved ones who pass away that were particularly popular by means of being famous, influential, or simply well liked by their communities, this privacy can mean so much to them. In an effort to save your family, your finances, and your estate from public scrutiny, you should speak to an estate planning attorney about your concerns.
Why a Will Is Not Enough
The most important reason to make a will is to avoid leaving your estate intestate. Without your last will and testament, your estate would be left without instructions on how to distribute your assets and state law would determine how your assets are distributed.
Aside from the lack of control of your estate, intestacy also opens the details of the state of your finances at death. A will, as a part of your estate plan, is private until after you pass away. After that, the will becomes public record and can be accessible by the public. Not even the rich and famous are exemptions to this rule; an example lies in the death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, whose will, and the legal problems accompanying it, have been analyzed time and again.
If you value privacy, you will want to use an estate planning tool that protects your assets more readily than a will would, and of course, intestacy is out of the question. One of the most commonly used tools for this is a trust. A trust has many benefits that could accomplish many of your goals:
- Reduce estate taxes;
- Avoid probate;
- Properly manage your assets; and
- Protect your privacy.
Using a Trust
By using a trust, you can minimize the assets you pass through a will, which will limit which of your assets will be public information. A trust is one of the most private ways to plan your estate and can receive funding even after you pass away. However, a trust is usually used for assets, while wills are typically used to transfer personal property, these are the only items that will be subject to public eyes.
Types of Trusts
There are several different types of trusts that can accomplish various objectives:
- Living Trust/Revocable Trust. A revocable trust is one you set up and pay taxes on the income for and can control and, after death, the assets are transferred without probate.
- Qualified Personal Residence Trust. This trust holds your residence and removes its value from your estate.
- Irrevocable Trust. An irrevocable trust is out of your control; the trust pays its own taxes and the assets are still transferred to beneficiaries. Further, you are not able to make changes to this trust without permission from the beneficiaries.
- Marital Trust. A marital trust passes on to your spouse if they survive you and avoids estate taxes.
You have options to protect your estate. Let the Anderson Law Firm help you protect yourself, your family, and your estate from public scrutiny and further stress. Contact our Greenville, SC estate planning lawyers to help you keep your private details as private as you want them to be.