Thursday, April 14, 2011

Privacy and the Living Revocable Trust

Do I need a Living Revocable Trust? That is a question many clients pose to me. The answer is usually no. However, there are a few situations that make a living revocable trust a good idea. One is when the clients wish to keep their financial affairs and wishes private. It is technique often employed by the rich and famous, including the late Elizabeth Taylor.

As for the disposition of the estate, who will get what? Taylor structured her will as a "revocable living trust"—which is generally a private contract between the decedent and trustees (who include, in this case, her son with second husband Michael Wilding, Christopher E. Wilding). Unless her heirs dispute the division of the estate and file a lawsuit questioning the validity of the trust, it will likely remain private.

In an email, Taylor's attorney, Paul Gordon Hoffman, wrote that as the actress "wished to keep her personal and financial situation private, I cannot confirm or deny" any matters not in the public record.

Living trusts can complicate matters, and should not be rushed into. If you think you need one, you should consult with an attorney who focuses on estate planning and probate. Beware, there are companies that sells these documents, but they are not lawyers and do not actually transfer any assets...meaning they are useless.

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