The death of the artist Prince was a shock to many of us. What surprised me as a trust, estate and tax attorney is his complete abdication of planning his estate, especially when you consider the energy and effort he expended to protect his music and the rights to it. He left no will, and his estate of hundreds of millions of dollars will be legally contested for years to come. A few thousand dollars for a simple trust would have avoided what promises to be an expensive and lengthy probate process, as well as a wide-open battle for his assets. That is the value of a trust.
Prince appeared to be a very private person. Taking an estate through the process of probate exposes every aspect of your private life to public record. This contrast is troubling, and a small amount of effort can protect the fruits of your life’s work – even if you don’t believe it’s worth very much.
For example, do you own a home? What is the appraised value of your home? The median price for a modest home here in San Diego is $500,000 and many areas of our region are far above that figure. If you have a will (or no will at all) your heirs and beneficiaries would be required to take that home through probate prior to obtaining title, or requesting the authority to dispose of the home. The cost of probate is based upon the appraised value of the asset(s) and not the equity. In this example, taking a $500,000 home through probate using standard fees would be $27,000 or more. The process almost always requires a year or more.
The cost of a family trust is a fraction of this cost, and provides complete protection of your assets while avoiding the probate process upon your passing. Your affairs remain private, and assets are transferred to your designated heirs and beneficiaries based upon your instructions within a matter of weeks. Many people are uncomfortable contemplating final arrangements, and many more are simply unfamiliar with the benefits of a living trust. For Prince, death came unexpectedly and his affairs were not in order.
I invite you to contact the experienced estate planning, trust and tax attorneys at Allen Barron for a free consultation at 866-631-3470. Learn about the value of a trust, and how it preserves and protects your private affairs. We make the process as smooth as possible, and lead you through each step. Our work together will save a significant portion of your life’s work, simplify matters for your heirs and beneficiaries, and provide a sense of well being and peace of mind.