Law News and Tips

Family Business - Keeping Your Estate Info Private

Fred Vilbig - Thursday, July 26, 2018

Family Business - Keeping Your Estate Info Private

Fred L. Vilbig © 2018

     Two recent high profile deaths highlighted one of the reasons people should consider using a trust for their estate plans.

     On June 8th, Anthony Bourdain died.He was 61.  He has been described as one of the most influential chefs in the world.  Mr. Bourdain’s death was tragic because it was a suicide which is so tragic for everyone involved, but particularly for those who were close to the decedent. You always question whether there was something you could have done.  It’s very difficult.

     But very soon after his death, there were reports in the press about how he had taken care of his daughter with his estate.  It’s not that it was a fortune, but it was just a discussion of how he took care of an important person in his life.

     The second high-profile death was that of Richard “Old Man” Harris on June 25.He was the patriarch of the family on the TV show “Pawn Stars.”His death wasn’t necessarily a surprise. He was 77 and had battled Parkinson’s disease for some time.  Still it’s always sad to lose someone you love.

     Much like in the case of Anthony Bourdain, soon after his death, articles began to appear in the press regarding his estate plan.  Evidently in 2017, he amended his will to cut his son, Christopher (and his children!), out of his will.  We don’t know why, but that didn’t stop the press from speculating.  Who needs those kinds of things aired in the press for the vultures to pick at?

     And that brings me to my point: privacy.  Apparently both Anthony Bourdain and Richard Harris planned their estates using wills. When a person dies, his or her will has to be filed with the local probate court.  With a little ingenuity, people (such as reporters) can get a peek at it, and then what should be private becomes public.

     With a trust, everything is private unless a lawsuit makes it public.  The trust beneficiaries are given a copy of the trust and accountings, but the only people who are in the know are the ones who have a need to know.  That way all of the family business is kept in the family where it belongs.  That’s a better plan!

     To talk about planning your estate using a trust, feel free to contact me to take a closer look.

Want to avoid problems with your estate? Estate planning can avoid this type of situation.

Contact Fred now about your situation. The first consultation is free. Or call him now at (314) 241-3963

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