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Elizabeth Taylor’s probate documents reveal a trust

In previous posts, we covered the basics of Georgia probate and the death of Hollywood legend Elizabeth Taylor. The celebrity news website Radar Online reports that the probate process has begun for Elizabeth Taylor’s estate, which is estimated to be worth between $600 million and $1 billion.

Radar Online reports that the Oscar winning actress created a trust shortly after she experienced a severe fall. A trust is an important estate planning tool that allows individuals to manage property while living and smoothly transition property and other affairs after death.

Trusts are also favored by many celebrities because of the privacy that a trust can provide. To create a trust, a property owner transfers the legal ownership of property to a person or an institution. The person or institution, called the “trustee,” then manages the property for the benefit of another person, called the “beneficiary.”

The creation of a trust also creates a special relationship between the trustee and beneficiary called a “fiduciary” relationship. This relationship is one of trust that requires the trustee to act for the sole benefit of the beneficiary. A trustee who violates his or her fiduciary duties can be held liable for any damages arising out a breach of fiduciary duty.

Although the creation of a trust is a fairly simple process, it is important that a trust is properly established to work in a property owner’s best interests. Trusts can create serious tax, government assistance, and probate issues if not properly established. An experienced estate planning and probate lawyer can help assist property owners with establishing a trust.

Source: Radar Online, “EXCLUSIVE: Elizabeth Taylor’s Estate Begins Probate,” 3/30/11