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Hugh Hefner's estate planning simplified matters for his heirs

Celebrity deaths tend to bring out mixed emotions in people. Some mourn the death of a beloved role model or icon, while others acknowledge a celebrity's passing without much emotion. However tragic the death of a high-profile individual might be, the celebrity's estate plan -- whether good or bad -- usually serves as an example of the importance of proper estate planning. The late Hugh Hefner is no exception.

Fights over inheritance are not as uncommon as some in California might think, especially when there is a significant amount of money involved, or a parent remarried later in life and earmarked some of his or her estate for the surviving spouse. However, experts believe that fighting over inheritances in the Hefner estate will be unlikely. Hefner left half of his estate to be divided among his four children. The other half of his estate is to be spent on charities.

Hefner's wife, Crystal Harris, was not left out. Reports indicate that Hefner made sure to leave her enough of his estate for her to live comfortably, but without jeopardizing any of his children's inheritance or the money intended for charity. Estate taxes are also unlikely to be a significant issue, as the magazine mogul utilized trusts and charitable planning.

Although unclear which types of trusts Hefner utilized, his estate should pass directly to his beneficiaries. This is a common tool utilized by those who hope to avoid probate and minimize the impact of estate taxes. Careful estate planning can ensure that surviving heirs and spouses in California will have an easier time handling a loved one's estate, even as they move through the grieving process.

Source: Forbes, "Hugh Hefner, Role Model? He Was When It Came To Estate Planning", Danielle and Andy Mayoras, Oct. 9, 2017

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