Days after the death of Burt Reynolds, the newsstands were flooded with stories claiming the legendary actor had cut his only child, Quinton Anderson Reynolds, out of his will. While true, the breathless headlines were misleading. The Bandit did not leave his son with nothing, he protected his privacy by using a trust to accomplish his estate planning goals.
Cut Out Of The Will, But Not Disinherited
The part of Burt Reynolds’ will that got everyone talking reads as follows: “At the time that I execute this, my Last Will and Testament, I am not married, and I have one (1) child, QUINTON A. REYNOLDS. I intentionally omit him from this, my Last Will and Testament, as I have provided for him during my lifetime in my Declaration of Trust.”
Yes, this language cuts Quinton out of Burt’s will, but it does not mean that he was disinherited. All this language tells us is that the Reynolds family values its privacy. We don’t know what the terms of the aforementioned trust are, and we probably never will. The inner workings of trusts are not publicly revealed like the contents of a will are.
A Valuable Tool In The Estate Planning Toolbox
The ability to protect your privacy is one of the main benefits of using a trust in your estate plan. Whether you are a movie star, or just an average Joe or Jane Doe who worked hard and saved up a bit of money you want to pass on to the next generation, the public does not have a right to know all of your financial details.
Trusts can also be used to hold assets for loved ones who you feel should not inherit assets directly. If you have minor children, a loved one with special needs, or are worried your hard-earned money may be spent imprudently, setting up a trust is probably a good idea. Trusts allow you to specify exactly how the assets held in them are to be used, which protects beneficiaries who are unable to take care of themselves, or who are at risk of making what you consider poor financial choices.
Trusts may also be used to save your family time and money after your death. Assets that are held in trust are transferred or used on behalf of the named beneficiaries according to the terms of the trust the minute the trust is created. There is no need to go to court to get approval for the trust to start doing its thing. This is quite different from how things work when assets are passed through a will, or when there is no estate plan in place at all. When there is no estate plan in place, or a will is used to transfer assets, a probate court must approve everything.
Be Wiley As The Bandit
If you are ready to do some Burt Reynolds inspired estate planning that will preserve your family’s privacy and allow you to have more say over how your assets are used after you are gone, please contact our office in Brandon, Mississippi to schedule a free initial consultation.