We are getting this picture of Scott's estate due to the very public nature of wills. Probate, public scrutiny, and estate taxes could have been avoided with an irrevocable trust.
Boston, MA (PRWEB) April 03, 2014
It was a tragic end to a love affair that was often tumultuous according to the Telegraph. American designer and former model L'Wren Scott took her own life on March 17th; a little more than a year after she composed her last will and testament (7). The document, which was filed in Manhattan's Surrogate Court, revealed that Scott left her entire estate to her long-time romantic partner and legendary lead singer of the Rolling Stones (1).
L'Wren Scott was 49 years old when an administrative assistant found her in a New York City apartment located at 200 11th Avenue on March 17th, 2014 (2). Her death was ruled a suicide shortly after police officers and the medical examiner issued their respective reports. Mick Jagger was on tour with the Rolling Stones in Australia when he received the sad news. Scott and Jagger were never married and did not have children.
According to a news report by CNN, Scott's will was quickly entered into probate at Manhattan's surrogate court (3). Estimates of her personal net worth vary; CNN used public records to determine that her estate could be worth about $9 million in assets, which include the stylish apartment and fashion design business holdings. The BBC reported that Scott's design firm in London, LS Fashion Limited, was operating at deep loss when compared to her assets (2). The Telegraph cited records kept by Companies House in Britain that indicate an operational business loss of $5.9 million two years ago.
“We are getting this picture of Scott's estate due to the very public nature of wills, which routinely enter the public record via probate court. We are also getting other details about her life and relationship with Jagger because wills tend to feed tabloid journalists who are pretty good at sleuthing,” explained Rocco Beatrice, Managing Director of Estate Street Partners, LLC and of UltraTrust.com. “Irrevocable trusts are pretty good instruments for privacy when it comes to estates and personal affairs.”
What Mr. Beatrice is referring to with regard to revealing personal information and inviting media speculation has already happened in the wake of Scott's sad demise. The Telegraph reported that Scott's will did not include any liabilities (1); this may have, according to the Telegraph, “prompted speculation about her suicide” being prompted by turmoil caused by financial adversity. CNN included a statement issued by LS Fashion Limited that admonished such speculation and calling it disrespectful.
Scott was born Laura Ann Bambrough and was known as Luann until she entered the world of high fashion (4). She was a towering and shapely beauty who graced the runways of Paris until she decided to put her creativity to work. She moved to Los Angeles and started working as a stylist and later as a creative director (5). Scott had a great eye for ultra-feminine design; she went from high fashion to wardrobe design for Hollywood films and later a lucrative contract with Banana Republic (4).
Prior to meeting Jagger in 2003, Scott had been briefly married. In her will, however, this fact about her life is subject to a bit of ambiguity. Her IMDB biography states that she was married for a few years in the 1990s (4), but on her will she wrote that she was never married and had no children (3), but she also crossed out the adverb “never.”
On the issue of crossed out words on wills, Mr. Beatrice explained: “Depending on the jurisdiction, crossed out words or phrases may render a will invalid; changes to wills should be formally filed as codicils. Handwritten and holographic wills can also become problematic. The nature of irrevocable trusts as estate planning tools makes them less likely to suffer these potential pitfalls because they call for professionals to get involved in the proper structuring of the documents and their formal amendments.”
Although Scott's brother attended her funeral service, she seemed to have been estranged from her surviving sister. There has been plenty of speculation as to why Scott did not include her siblings on the will and instead her sizable estate to Jagger, whose net worth according to the Telegraph is estimated at $300 million (1). “This is a sign of someone who was truly in love despite all other turmoil,” explains Mr. Beatrice. “Still, emotional conflict should not preclude estate planning, particularly when wealth is being created. Here we have a very successful and wealthy fashion designer who could have benefited from an irrevocable trust. By leaving a will and bequeathing her entire estate to Jagger, she also turned him over to creditors and made him liable for New York estate taxes. These unpleasant situations of probate, public scrutiny, and estate taxes could have been avoided with an irrevocable trust.”
Mr. Beatrice is referring to New York's estate taxes, which requires filing a special tax return within nine months after a grantor has passed away. This taxation applies to estates with values greater than $1 million (6). Irrevocable trusts can also be used for asset protection and wealth preservation during an individual's lifetime since they offer legal protections against creditors to a certain extent.
In closing, Mr. Beatrice stated: “There is no question that Scott was deeply in love until the very moment she left us. This is a very human gesture, but death does not leave others off the hook when it comes to financial obligations and taxes. Even when we are emotionally consumed, we must think about the potential liabilities we may unexpectedly burden our loved ones with when our time comes. To this end, irrevocable trusts are much better instruments than wills.”
About Estate Street Partners (UltraTrust.com):
For 30 years, Estate Street Partners has been helping clients protect assets from divorce and frivolous lawsuits while eliminating estate taxes and probate as well as ensuring superior Medicaid asset protection for both parents and children with their Premium UltraTrust® Irrevocable Trust. Call (888) 938-5872 to learn more.
Sources:1. telegraph.co.uk/news/celebritynews/10725841/LWren-Scott-leaves-entire-9-million-estate-to-Sir-Mick-Jagger.html - 3/26/14
2. bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-26622259 - 3/17/14
3. edition.cnn.com/2014/03/27/showbiz/new-york-lwren-scott-estate/ - 3/27/14
4. imdb.com/name/nm0779460/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm 3/31/14
5. lwrenscott.com/journey.php - 3/31/14
6. tax.ny.gov/pit/estate/etidx.htm - 3/31/14
7. ultratrust.com/court-cases/l-wren-scott-will.pdf - 5/13/13