As I type this we are only an hour away from the tip-off of the Duke vs. Wisconsin basketball game. Since this is college basketball's annual fantastic final feast - the NCAA Basketball National Championship Game - it seems only meet and right to recognize The Legendary Coach Dean Smith who died on February 7, 2015.
Not only was Coach Smith a legendary coach on the court, but he was a famous Kansan and Kansas University student athlete.
While much could be written about Dean Smith the basketball legend in this blog post, I will leave that to experts on that subject.
Instead, I elect to highlight his All-American estate plan.
A recent Bloomberg.com article, titled “Dean Smith's Generosity Got Lots of Press. His Estate Plan Deserves Some Too,” noted that Coach Smith's estate planning approach of choice was a revocable living trust.
On offense, revocable trusts avoid probate when properly "funded" with your assets. When it comes to defense, revocable trusts keep your estate planning details a private matter.
Wills, by contrast, are public documents.
Accordingly, the only way we know that Coach Smith left $200 each to approximately 180 of his former players is because some of them made his generosity public.
As the original article notes, you still need a will (referred to as a "pour-over will") to transfer assets via probate into your revocable living trust should you forget to make arrangements for the trust to have title to them while you are alive or postmortem.
In Kansas, however, there is a special Kansas Supreme Court case and a special provision under the Kansas Uniform Trust Code that can even avoid that exercise in most instances.
So, should you approach your estate plan with a revocable living trust or with a will as the go-to player? As in the game of high-stakes basketball, you should seek the advice of a Division I coach who has seen it all.
Contact an experienced estate planning attorney. He or she can help you decide which approach provides the best offense and defense for your unique situation.
Reference: Bloomberg.com (March 27, 2015) “Dean Smith's Generosity Got Lots of Press. His Estate Plan Deserves Some Too”