Here is an interesting article in Forbes magazine on Joe Paterno's estate.
The moral of this story is that a will is not a private document; in probate it becomes public record. If you want the value of your assets and your beneficiary designations to remain private you should use a living trust. A living trust also makes it much harder for relatives to challenge your wishes than with a will.
If you are considering a living trust, I would recommend using an attorney who specializes in trusts and estates.
(This article contains the current opinions of the author but not necessarily those of Brighton Securities Corp. The author's opinions are subject to change without notice. This blog post is for informational purposes only. Forecasts, estimates, and certain information contained herein should not be considered as investment advice or a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. References to specific securities and their issuers are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended and should not be interpreted as recommendations to purchase or sell such securities).
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As required by U.S. Treasury Regulations, please be advised that any written tax advice contained in this communication was not written or intended to be used (and cannot be used) by any taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code.