Have you ever wondered what Paul Revere left his grandchildren in his will? Thanks to Ancestry.com’s US Probate and Wills Collection, there are now millions pages of estate documents online for members to peruse.
Here are just a few of the items famous people left their loved (or not-so-loved) ones:
- Paul Revere left one grandchild $1, while leaving all of the others $500
- Secretary of State, Daniel Webster left one grandson a snuffbox
- George Pullman, the railroad mogul, left his daughter an island, while leaving his disappointing twin sons each a couple thousand dollars a year
If it makes you a little squeamish knowing the details of these famous estates (and that one can easily access the details of the not-so-famous estates as well), then you might want to consider why these details are available for public consumption.
These public details are contained mostly within wills and so they are made public to us, even though the initial intent was most likely that these details remain private .
The good news for you is that if you want your estate information to remain private, then the best course of action is to establish a trust as opposed to a will. Trusts are like written instructions that only your chosen Trustee need know about. The document is private and does not need to go through probate, unlike a will. Trusts can also help manage assets for your family instead of just handing them over all at once, and can offer significant tax and creditor protection benefits.
You can learn more about how a trust might benefit you and your family by contacting us to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session, where we can identify the best strategies for you and your family.