Besides the avoidance of probate fees, one of the primary benefits of using a trust for estate planning is to maintain privacy. It appears that Steve Jobs was well-aware of this fact. Reports have begun to surface that Jobs transferred at least three pieces of real estate to two different trusts in March of 2009, two months after taking a medial leave of absence from Apple in order to undergo a liver transplant. These circumstances make it appear likely that this was a measure taken to protect Jobs’ privacy in the event of his death.
It is likely that Jobs’ last will and testament simply says that everything remaining in his estate is to be turned over to his trustee, who would then divide the assets in accordance with the terms of the trust document. This type of will is commonly referred to as a “pour-over will” since it “pours-over” any assets that the decedent owned at the time of his death into the trust. The distribution of these assets is then governed by the trust terms and administered by a trusted individual who is named as the successor trustee. Unlike wills, trust documents are usually not submitted to probate court and their details may be kept secret from the public. Thus, it is possible that we may never know the full details of how Jobs’ estate is to be divided. Which is probably exactly the way he wanted it
Steve Jobs was a man who supremely valued his privacy. It appears that he got some good advice from his estate planning attorney and formed a trust to protect it. If you are interested in learning how a trust could benefit your estate plan, contact an Attorney in Jacksonville to discuss your options today.