Whitney Houston Voted the Most Shocking OMG! (Oh My Gosh!) Moments of 2012 For Another Reason

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Whitney Houston’s death was the biggest OMG! (Oh My Gosh!) moment of 2012 earning half of the 56,000 overall votes by Yahoo and Parade Magazine's recent poll, but according to UltraTrust.com the biggest OMG! Moment is Whitney Houston’s lack of estate planning throughout her lifetime.

Oh My Gosh!!! logo from UltraTrust.com

Oh My Gosh!!! from UltraTrust.com

With Whitney’s access to good legal advice she should have executed a much better estate plan that included one or more irrevocable trusts.

“Whitney Houston's only child, Bobbi Kristina, was potentially left in a tough situation when her mom died. The estate taxes possibly taken out of her inheritance could be dramatic because of awful financial planning and terrible advice from her lawyers and accountants,” explains Rocco Beatrice, managing director of Estate Street Partners, parent company of UltraTrust.com, the premium irrevocable trust. Although there is some debate, Forbes and Business Insider estimate her estate to be worth as much as $115M.

“Whitney should have a solid irrevocable trust or, at the very least, a revocable trust. But she decided to plan her entire multi-million dollar estate by relying on a will from 1993 that is no different than the will a law student could prepare for you. A simple will isn’t enough to protect assets for some of those who are even considered middle-class because of their net asset worth.”

Whitney’s entire estate is about to be on public record in the probate court of Atlanta, Georgia so it’s deducible how much her estate needs to pay and everybody is going to find out all of the details. "Most high profile, high-wealth people avoid probate court with a trust for that very reason," says exclaims Rocco Beatrice of Estate Street Partners.

Whitney, however, with all of her money and access to attorneys, engaged in estate planning based on a single will signed back in 1993 with a slight change in to it in 2000. “For a woman of her wealth, I’m shocked that this is the only estate planning she did,” exclaims Rocco Beatrice of Estate Street Partners. “A will alone isn’t sufficient for someone who has 1/10th of her assets and none of her fame.”

The will may be one of the most overused and outdated methods of estate planning. Other than giving instructions on who will take care of your minor children, wills are at a major disadvantage compared to UltraTrust irrevocable trusts.

“With Whitney’s wealth and access to good legal advice she should have executed a much better estate plan that included one or more UltraTrust irrevocable trusts. The UltraTrust irrevocable trust is a complex instrument that is beneficial to the passing of wealth to your family. A good irrevocable trust such as our premium UltraTrust can keep your information out of the public eye, save your beneficiaries in taxes and create detailed instructions so that you can control your assets even after you are gone,” explains Mr. Beatrice.

But like most people, Whitney may have been too busy to plan ahead at a cost to her daughter. For a variety of reasons, many prudent upper middle-class and wealthy individuals use UltraTrust irrevocable trusts or, at least, some form of an irrevocable trust.

"The first reason Whitney might have wanted to use an UltraTrust irrevocable trust is to avoid the public scrutiny and cost of probate, avoid estate taxes, and keep her daughter’s wealth private. The will was filed in the probate court, and now the executor must submit an accounting of the assets in the estate. This is all public record.

“In these days of scams, cybercrime and identity theft, I don’t think anyone, let alone someone leaving that large of an estate wants another to know what their children are inheriting,” warns Mr. Beatrice.

When assets are placed in the premium UltraTrust irrevocable trust, the transfer can be a private one between the person transferring the assets, the beneficiaries, and the trustee. Nobody else knows what is being transferred and assets in the trust are not subject to probate and thus remain private. If the assets are not subject to probate, the executor does not have to deal with the trust at all or the court concerning the assets in the estate.

The second reason that Whitney might have wanted to use an UltraTrust irrevocable trust is to take advantage of a favorable gift tax exemption in 2011 and 2012, but by the beginning of 2013 that all changes. Luckily, for some who are preparing will take advantage of the tax break, as 2012 is the year with the highest estate tax exemption on record.

An UltraTrust irrevocable trust can be funded this year with $5.12 million estate and gift tax free and, additionally, benefit from avoiding the estate tax rate. Next year estates are subject to a 55% tax rate for every dollar over the $1 million exclusion amount.

“Most people with over $1 million in assets should take advantage of this year’s gift tax exclusion,” urges Mr. Beatrice. This year, a couple can move $10.24 million into an UltraTrust irrevocable trust for the benefit of their children (or anyone else other than their children) gift-tax free.

Next year, that will cost in excess of $3 million in gift taxes or $5 million in estate taxes. It is a lose-lose situation if you do not take advantage of this year's enormous exemption.

Despite Whitney’s huge financial planning blunder or extremely poor financial advice she received, she did accomplish one thing. She had written into her will a testamentary trust. Although this type of trust does not take advantage of the privacy and tax advantage of an UltraTrust irrevocable trust, they do have something in common: Control.

"Like the UltraTrust irrevocable trust, her trust had instructions concerning who would control the assets, what they could be used for and when they should be distributed. In this way, she allowed for her daughter to receive portions of the estate at three different ages along with various expenses that would be paid for, such as education.

“If you want all three advantages, setting up the UltraTrust irrevocable trust during your lifetime is truly the best way to go to save time, money and avoid all the stress that comes with inheritance,” states Mr. Beatrice.

To learn how to protect your assets, save yourself from sleepless nights worrying about lawyer fees and court proceedings and save on gift taxes and probate costs visit UltraTrust.com irrevocable trust. Visit MyUltraTrust.com to set up your own DIY irrevocable trust plan.



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Rocco Beatice

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