A singer and songwriter with a long and successful musical career, Lou Reed died with a gorgeous New York Last Will. We know all of this because last wills are filed with the Probate Court, which makes them public. We, the general public, when there is a probate (and a last will is produced) can access the last will.
In the case of Reed, we know that there are assets of approximately $10 million, set aside for Reed’s wife and sister, along with $500,000 left to his sister for her to use for the care of their 93-year old mother, in her discretion, and the residuary estate to be divided between Reed’s wife and his sister. We know a lot.
So, what ca we learn from Reed’s estate plan?
We learn that we can keep our estate matters private with a trust. A revocable living trust, when property used, may avoid probate court entirely as well as keep the family’s affairs private and away from a probate filing. A will is probated and therefore public. A trust is a private document, not recorded or filed anywhere.
So while Reed didn’t mind to “take a walk on the wild side,” we can certainly learn to protect our assets as well as our privacy with a well though out trust. It’s fun to be a rock and roll and an estate planning rebel, until it’s not.