California residents who were fans of late musician Lou Reed may be interested to learn how the ‘Walk on the Wild Side” singer handled his estate planning. According to a report filed by one of the two co-executors of Reed’s estate, a 34-page will Reed drew up in April 2012 was all the estate planning he had done before he passed.

Because Reed relied on a will rather than a revocable living trust, the details of how Reed’s estate was divided has become public knowledge. While his $30 million estate was dispersed, Reed’s family members were required to go through probate court. The media quickly discovered that Reed’s wife was left with 75 percent of his estate and Reed’s sister was left with 25 percent of his estate.

In addition to becoming public, wills that have to go through probate court can result in added expenses and headaches for a deceased person’s surviving family members. If one family member objects to an aspect of the will, it’s relatively easy to challenge the will in probate court. A revocable living trust, however, will ensure that the contents of an estate are dispersed privately without every beneficiary knowing exactly who got what.

A person who would like the added privacy and security of a revocable living trust may wish to consult an estate planning attorney. The attorney could help design a revocable living trust that will ensure that the person’s estate is dispersed quickly and privately after he or she passes. While writing a comprehensive trust document, the attorney may also be able to help individuals to add detailed conditions and limitations to the dispersal of their assets.

Source: Forbes, “Lou Reed Walked On The Wild Side With His Estate Planning“, July 10, 2014