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Paul Allen’s will made public, asset details stay private

We often discuss the various options people have to keep details of their estate private when they pass away. One of the most common solutions is to have a trust set up and properly funded.

Having a trust can be wise for a number of reasons, but people often establish them to avoid probate and keep the details of their assets out of the public record. This is what billionaire Paul Allen did, according to recent reports.

Taking a calculated approach to planning

Sources note that Allen had a six-page will in which he stated that his sister is to be the executor of a trust he established 25 years before he passed away. The document puts all his assets into the trust.

Allen’s estate was sizable, to be sure. He was worth an estimated $20 billion and operated several businesses and charitable initiatives. He also owned an NFL team and donated heavily to the arts and scientific communities.

With these assets in a trust, details about them and the numerous beneficiaries can stay private and protected.

Avoiding more than probate

When people have trusts and carefully crafted estate plans, they can avoid probate, but they can also avoid other stressful situations. For instance, unlike other high-profile people who recently passed away without a will, the details of Paul Allen’s estate plan are limited to who he named as his executor and the fact that he established a trust.

In other words, people who take the time to create an estate plan can reduce the sensationalism of a tragic loss and protect loved ones from having to go through a messy – and public – legal process to settle the affairs of the decedent.

You don’t have to be a millionaire (or billionaire) to take advantage of planning tools like trusts. If you have property or assets you want to protect and keep private, then setting up a trust with the help of an attorney can be wise.

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Peter J. Snyder, P.A.

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