Stephen Hartnett with the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys did an insightful blog post today about revocable trusts and privacy in death.
He used the example of how Elizabeth Edwards changed her will just a week before she died, and how she protected her family’s privacy with a revocable trust. The updated will became public for all the world to see on January 5, 2011.
People who don’t have wills, or have never seen one, may find this download to be a valuable glimpse into the world of wills and trusts. It seems to me lots of folks are as reluctant to prepare a will as they are to pre-plan a funeral.
Edwards herself was a savvy attorney. While she was estranged from husband John Edwards, they were still married at the time of her death. Hartnett commented:
It’s probably not a surprise to anyone that she left her personal property to her children rather than to her estranged husband. But, we may never know how she disposed of most of her assets because the Will poured over to a revocable trust. In fact, it appears she restated the trust just prior to the will and then did a new Will to pour over into the newly restated trust. (States may vary regarding the ability of a Will to pour assets into a trust which is altered after the execution of the Will.)
To read more of Steve’s post, visit the AAEPA blog.