In the days following Playboy Magazine founder Hugh Hefner’s death on September 27, 2017, rumors quickly sprung up that he died with very little to his name, and that he died without having done any estate or succession planning. However, according to a recent Forbes article, the businessman was actually something of a role model when it comes to estate planning.
By divesting himself of his company stock over the years, using Trusts and prenuptial agreements, Hefner clearly anticipated potential future issues that could impact his wealth and his legacy and took action to address those issues.
Wealth Advisor provides additional details, reporting that Hefner transferred his company – including all of its assets – into a Trust in 1991. He created a separate Trust a few years later to hold additional shares of company stock, meaning that none of the company assets were in his name. That Trust framework did more than create a solid estate plan; it also provided an ironclad succession plan for the company assets, ensuring they would be there for the Trust beneficiaries because they weren’t Hefner’s assets anymore.
Using Trusts along with prenuptial agreements essentially meant that Hefner’s ex-wives couldn’t assert claims to company assets, and their rights to the assets that were in Hefner’s name at the time of their divorces were limited to what the prenuptial agreements provided. Using this structure also makes it unlikely that the heirs – Hefner’s four children, aged 26 to 64, will raise challenges to his distribution wishes. Of course, careful estate planning using Trusts can also ensure the estate will not need to go through probate and that estate taxes will be minimized to the extent possible under the law.
Most of us don’t have the size – or the complexity – of Hefner’s assets to worry about. Still, it is important to plan ahead for the orderly management and distribution of your own estate, whatever that entails.
Secure a financially sound future for you and your loved ones by partnering with us. At our firm you can be sure that your satisfaction will always be our first priority. We will be your trusted advisor at every step of the process. Our services are available at competitive prices and do not involve any hidden costs. We are here to guide you through the difficult decisions that will protect your family after your passing. Contact us today to get started!