I was surprised when I heard that, according to recent news reports, Anthony Bourdain's net worth is only $1.2 million. Given the success of his tv programs, $1.2 million sounded low. Then I read that this etimate is based solely on information obtained from his will which, like all wills, is a public document once it's filed with the court for probate proceedings.
But what about the assets in his trust? All these news reports fail to consider that Bourdain probably put most of his assets into a trust. Since the trust is not filed with the court, it's not subject to public scrutiny. One news service has suggested that a trust exists, but nobody has any details (except Bourdain's lawyer and trustee). It's very likely that Bourdain did, indeed, prepare a trust and all these news reports (see links below) are grossly underestimating Bourdain's net worth. If so, we may never know his true estate value and I suspect that's exactly the way he wanted it.
Here are 3 takeaways from the recent news about Bourdain's estate plan:
1. A good estate plan will honor your wishes. If you don't have an estate plan, the court (not you) will decide who gets the hard-earned estate you spend a lifetime to create. Ultimately, the purpose of an estate plan is to make sure your assets go to those you care about. Regardless of whether a Bourdain trust exists, his daughter was the sole beneficiary of his will and will be well cared for with her inheritance.
2. A trust helps ensure your privacy. While a will is a public document and subject to public scrutiny, a trust is not. Bourdain probably set up a trust, but it's unlikely the details of it will become public. If you want to keep your financial affairs and net worth private, prepare a trust. For added privacy, prepare a "pour-over" will so your entire estate goes into your trust and away from prying eyes.
3. Include digital assets in your estate plan. Bourdain specifically left his frequent flyer miles to his daughter. Given how much he traveled, they are cetainly valuable. Your credit card points, hotel points, airline miles and other affinity program rewards are your "digital assets" and, depending on the terms and conditions associated with each program, many be left to your heirs. However, most people fail to include them in their estate plan and they are lost forever. Don't forget to include your digital assets in your estate plan.
Let me help you reach your estate planning goals. Contact me today at 415-235-9162 (direct) for a free consultation. Evening and weekend consultations available!