On September 6, 2018, the world lost one of the most iconic movie actors we've seen in the last 50 years. Burt Reynolds died at age 82 leaving behind one child, Quinton.
It's funny how Hollywood develops headlines. People published an article online on September 18th that read "Burt Reynolds Left His Only Son Out of His Will and Created a Trust for Him Instead". In the article, they mention the reason Burt Reynolds likely set up his trust and included Quinton as a beneficiary. They cited that "According to TMZ, all of Reynolds' assets appear to be in the trust, which may be designed to get around estate taxes."
It is unlikely that was the purpose. A revocable trust for an unmarried person will do little to save on Federal estate taxes by itself. There are other strategies that can be used for that purpose. More likely, the purpose of setting up his trust was (1) to protect Burt during his lifetime should he have become incapacitated; (2) to protect his son from inheriting too much too soon; (3) to avoid exorbitant Probate fees; (4) to allow for faster administration of his estate upon his death; (5) to avoid public display of his entire estate in Court; and possibly (6) to protect his son from divorcing spouses, creditors, predators and bankruptcy claims against the assets he left him.
The reason I noted "possibly" for number six above is that without reading the trust document, it would be difficult to determine what protective provisions, if any, were drafted into the trust for Quinton. It is reported that Burt left about $5,000,000 in assets behind. Not enough to be subject to the Federal estate tax, but certainly more than enough to protect for his son one might imagine.
The current Federal estate tax exemption is $11,180,000 (2018). Provided that Burt did not make any large lifetime gifts that would have decreased his exemption, he would have had more than enough to have escaped Federal estate taxes. And if he died as a resident of California, there also would be no state estate tax applicable to his estate.
To learn more about saving estate taxes and protecting your family, request a copy of the latest edition of my book Secrets of Great Estate Planning, Third Edition at https://www.geigerlawoffice.com/reports/secrets-of-great-estate-planning.cfm. The first five to request a copy using the code "Burt Reynolds" will get a FREE copy shipped to them within 24 hours. If you need our help right now, call Lisa at (760) 448-2220 or contact us at https://www.geigerlawoffice.com/contact.cfm.