Nelle Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird, died in February of this year at age
89. She may have written her famous novel 50 years ago, but according
to the findings of
Celebrity Net Worth, Lee was still earning an average of $9,000 in royalties a day. Trusts
have benefits for estate of all sizes, but we will give you 3 reasons
why we think Nelle Harper Lee in particular
should have used a revocable living trust.
1. Privacy from the public
Even though Lee was an exceptionally private person, her probate will be
public if she did not create a trust. Even if Lee had a will, the will
would be filed with the court and considered public. Every finance report
and every income statement will be filed with the court and be considered
a public document that anyone can go and look at. Only a trust can transfer
property and assets privately. The trustee of a trust only needs to notify
the court that the trust exists and then can proceed to manage the assets
in the trust privately.
2. Asset retention and protection
Lee's continuing royalties mean that large sums of money are still
going into her estate after her death. That means that Lee's heirs
or beneficiaries will receive a large check periodically outright and
unprotected. However, assets in trust remain protected from lawsuits and
creditors because the assets are not in the individual's name.
3. Federal tax avoidance
For those who decease in 2016,
anything above 5.45 million will be subjected to the federal estate tax. Because Lee has a large estate,
her heirs can probably expect that federal tax to be at the 40% rate.
Tax avoidance strategies are a big reason more people are choosing to
make a living trust the keystone of their estate plan.
To review these lessons and others, read about why
Whitney Houston should also have used a trust in her estate plan. For more information
about how you can find the estate plan that offers you the protections
contact us here.