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Robin Williams used a trust to plan his estate

Robin Williams' death affected people all over the world. However, New York fans of the late comedian and actor might be interested to learn that Williams had his affairs in order. The father of three established at least one revocable trust to handle the management of his assets, which could ensure that his heirs receive their inheritance according to the late actor's wishes. Williams left behind three children, two ex-wives and a current spouse.

The creation of trusts is an option that is sometimes overlooked in favor of a will. Although wills do have benefits, such as their low price compared to the upfront costs of building a trust, there are many reasons why people like Williams might choose the more expensive devices. A revocable trust allows for changes to be made when circumstances change, such as when a child is born or someone gets married. Wills may be altered, but the process is more formal.

Revocable trusts also allow for a trustee to oversee the assets and in some cases, release funds only when their use aligns with the intentions of the person who established the trust. Unlike wills, assets inherited from a trust can come with strings and might be limited to use for certain purposes, such as college tuition or a down payment on a home. Trusts could also keep assets safe until a beneficiary reaches a certain age regardless of when someone passes away.

Through proper estate planning, individuals can maintain privacy and save their loved ones the hassle of going through probate. New Yorkers who wish to spare their loved ones the complications of dealing with probate or uncertainty concern assets might consider using a trust as part of a larger estate planning strategy. An attorney could analyze a client's finances and recommend an appropriate plan.

Source: Daily Finance, "Robin Williams' Estate Plan Spares His Heirs a Lot of Drama", Dan Caplinger, August 14, 2014

Source: Daily Finance, "Robin Williams' Estate Plan Spares His Heirs a Lot of Drama", Dan Caplinger, August 14, 2014

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