Articles detailing the “failings” of celebrity estate plans are some of the more common “click-baitish” news items you’ll see related to estate planning. The one I saw today related to Lou Reed, his 34-page will, and the fact that he should have done a revocable trust. The article can be found here.
I bring this up for a few reasons:
- (shamless plug) I welcome all celebrities that would like me to handle their estate planning. (/shameless plug)
- Revocable trusts are amazing and affordable estate planning tools. Admittedly, any revocable trust drafted for the estate of someone like Lou Reed wouldn’t be run of the mill, and would likely have made his 34-page will look like a blog post, but the importance of one can’t really be overstated. If you have an estate that you’d like to keep private, or have real property in multiple states, or would like to provide for family members (like Mr. Reed wanted to provide for his elderly mother), a revocable trust can make the administration of your estate much easier. BUT:
- Just because someone does a will instead of a trust doesn’t mean their estate plan is bad, or incomplete. It is quite possible that Mr. Reed sat down with his estate planning attorney, and the attorney began discussing trusts, and Mr. Reed threw up his hands and said “I’m not interested in trusts — I just want to do a will.” To which the attorney most likely protested, but at the end of the day, it’s the client’s decision. And if Lou Reed only wanted a will, that’s the end of it. It’s much better than doing nothing at all and leaving it to the laws of the State of New York. His wishes were met through the will. Was it the cleanest or best method? Not in my opinion. But just because you don’t do a trust doesn’t mean your estate planning was awful. The key is having a plan, and that’s something we can help with.