There have been a number of famous people pass away lately, and each one has left a story to tell about how they chose to handle their estate. A few months ago, for example, we discussed how famed singer Aretha Franklin neglected to engage in estate planning, thereby leaving her assets open to creditor claims and the grasp of all individuals who feel they are entitled to a share of the estate.
Now, legendary film actor Burt Reynolds has passed away. But his estate planning story is different. According to reports, Reynolds intentionally wrote his 30-year-old son out of his will, but for good reason. Apparently Reynolds left everything to a trust with his son named as a beneficiary.
Why would Reynolds do this? There may be a number of reasons. To start, wills must go through the probate process, which is public in nature. By leaving his estate to a trust, Reynolds is able to keep the matter private. Additionally, leaving everything to a trust may allow Reynolds and his son to avoid the long reach of creditors. Reynolds was known for having some financial difficulties later in life, so this may have been his best way to pass on as much of his wealth as possible.
Reynolds’ case serves to highlight that there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to estate planning. Instead, individuals need to come up with a legal strategy that meets their unique needs. This may include the utilization of a will, trusts or some combination of estate planning tools. This process is completely customizable, which can be both a blessing and, when not utilized properly, a curse because the process can quickly become daunting to the unaffiliated. To find assistance with this process and to ensure that they are taking the steps necessary to protect their estate as fully as possible, Arizona residents should discuss their ideas for the future of their estates with skilled estate planning attorneys.