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Dean Smith raises awareness of revocable living trust benefits

Some Miami residents may have read about former University of North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith and his unique estate planning choices. Coach Smith passed away last month. But just this week, he made headlines when his former players started receiving checks in the mail from their former coach.

As it turns out, Coach Smith left a small inheritance -- $200 each -- to roughly 180 players he had coached throughout his career. What may interest our readers about this situation is how he distributed these payments. 

Coach Smith used a revocable living trust -- not a will -- to ensure that his former players received their checks. A revocable living trust is an important estate planning tool that provides benefits that a will does not. 

For example, the contents of a revocable living trust are private. In this case, the contents of the trust were only made public by the beneficiaries. A will, on the other hand, is public record available for anyone to access. If privacy is important to you, a trust may be the right choice.

Another benefit to a revocable living trust over other types of trusts is that you can change it or revoke it any time. This type of trust also avoids probate upon death and, therefore, is immediately available to the beneficiaries.

Although this is one example of a good use of a revocable living trust, they are certainly not for everyone. To better understand whether a revocable living trust could support your estate planning goals, it may be helpful to speak with an experienced attorney.

Source: Bloomberg Business, "Dean Smith's Generosity Got Lots of Press. His Estate Plan Deserves Some Too," Suzanne Woolley, March 27, 2015

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