The New York papers reported this week the details of CBS news correspondent Bob Simon’s Will, who recently died in a traffic accident. According to the reports, Mr. Simon’s $2 million estate was left to his wife, consisting of a $1 million home in the Hamptons and marketable securities.
How did the papers know such details? Because a Will is a public document that is filed in the local court where a decedent resides, in this case New York City. Perhaps Mr. Simon was not concerned that his life’s assets and the distributions upon his death would be public knowledge.
But for those of us who desire a degree of privacy, there is an easy solution: a Revocable Living Trust to avoid the disadvantages of probate, including a public filing. The Revocable Trust acts as a Will substitute and contains the details of a decedent’s estate, e.g., beneficiaries and asset distributions. Other probate disadvantages include the time and cost it takes to administer the assets.
The bottom line: a Revocable Trust is a better mousetrap than a Will.