Robin Williams’ estate plan profiles importance of real estate trusts

The media has focused a lot of attention on the life of Robin Williams amid his recent death. Now, attention is focused on Williams’ estate plan. Part of his estate involved real estate holding trusts

Media outlets everywhere have been profiling the legacy of Robin Williams amid the actor's recent death. His family has been moving through the grieving process after recent reports reveal that Williams' was cremated and his ashes were scattered.

Attention is now focused on Williams' estate. The details surrounding his plan provide an example of why estate planning is so important.

Robin Williams' estate plan

Williams was a talented actor and comedian. Through the years, he was able to substantially grow his estate by completing various projects. Public records show that Williams' estate was estimated to be worth about $25 million at the time of his passing. He owned two multi-million dollar homes in both Napa Valley, California, and Tiburon, California.

But his total worth isn't what was so remarkable; it was the thorough estate plan he created. Parts of Williams' plan involved real estate holding trusts for both of his California properties.

Benefits of a real estate holding trust

A real estate holding trust, also referred to as a title holding trust among other names, is essentially a trust that holds legal title to real estate. The trustor (person creating the trust) outlines the names of the beneficiaries within the document who will retain complete control over the property when the trustor dies.

One benefit to holding title in a trust is for confidentiality purposes; the names of the beneficiaries and their personal information are not reflected in any public records. Williams' desire to maintain as much privacy for his heirs upon his death was likely a big reason he created these trusts for his estate.

Along with preserving privacy, real estate trusts are beneficial because they help reduce the estate taxes owed. Williams' likely wanted as much of his estate as possible to pass on to his family. His option to place both of his properties in a real estate holding trust separate from his estate will substantially reduce the tax liability of his estate.

Take away

Although Williams' is not your average person, his particular estate plan shows the public not only the importance of creating a plan ahead of time but just how much legal methods or tools, like real estate holding trusts, can be advantageous.

Such an arrangement can help to reduce unnecessary publicity, costs, and the hassle of dealing with probate court-issues important to not just celebrities, but everyone.

The fewer issues heirs and executors of an estate need to sort out and manage, the more time they can all focus on the grieving process.

Keywords: estate planning, trusts, real estate holding trusts