Privacy is a concern to all of us, both during life and after death. Privacy is a concern for many reasons. We each have our own reasons for wanting privacy. People want to keep private the existence of children out of wedlock, their sexual orientation, their wealth or lack thereof, or even their choices of charitable causes. People also want to maintain their privacy just to prevent nuisances.
Lifetime gifting directly to the charity may be public because the charity must reveal the sources of its public support. You can maintain the privacy of your charitable giving and still get a charitable deduction by giving to a donor advised fund.
A revocable trust is an excellent way to achieve privacy both during life and after death. Without a revocable trust, your assets go through “probate,” which is the legal process to transfer title from a person who has died to his or her heirs or beneficiaries. As part of that process, the identity of the beneficiaries must be made public. So, if you leave assets to your child who was born out of wedlock, everyone will know what assets you left them. Similarly, if you left all your assets to your same sex partner, everyone would know. Without a trust, even the extent of your wealth or lack thereof, including your debts, is a matter of public record. Trusts can even be used to keep hidden who bought real estate or other assets. With a trust, your business stays your business. With a trust, how much you have and to whom you are leaving it remains private.
A qualified estate planning attorney can help you determine if a trust is the best way to maintain your privacy both during life and after your death.
Compliments of the McGee Law Firm, Attorney Brandon McGee
Written By: The American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys