When former North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith passed away in February at the age of 83, he left behind a legacy as one of the most successful, respected, and beloved coaches of all time. During his tenure of 36 seasons at North Carolina, he led his teams too compiling a record of 879 wins and 254 losses. He was also known as one of the first college coaches of any sport in the South to integrate his team.
When he passed away and his estate was distributed, it was revealed that the coach left a gift to each of his former players. About 180 former Tar Heels received a $200 check from the trust Dean Smith established as a part of his estate plan.
Gifts From the Dean Smith Estate
The trust created by Dean Smith through his estate plan will distribute $200 checks to each of his former players. The administrator of the coaches revocable trust distributed these checks to the players along with a letter stating that it was the coaches wish to leave his players a small gift. The checks were sent so that each player could enjoy a “dinner out” with his family, compliments of coach Dean Smith.
Living Trust Gifts, Not Wills
The desire of Coach Smith to leave gifts to each of his players was not only protected by his estate plan, but was also notable because it was done through the terms of a revocable living trust. Unlike a last will and testament, a revocable living trust is not subject to public scrutiny once a person dies and his or her estate is opened. The terms of the coach’s living trust will generally remain private, and will allow the trust administrator, known as the trustee, to distribute the property owned by the trust in whatever way the trust deemed appropriate. Because it was the coach who created the trust, the coach effectively chose to keep his inheritance choices private.
Learning From the Dean Smith Estate
The use of revocable living trust as a tool to distribute inheritances is one of the most important reasons why people choose to include these tools in their estate plans. You don’t have to be as wealthy or as well-known as coach to create a revocable living trust, nor do you have to use them in the same manner he did. You’re perfectly able to use your last will and testament to distribute inheritances, or some inheritances, while using your revocable living trust to distribute others.
To determine how a living trust can help you, and how you might be able to use one, it’s best to speak to your estate planning attorney as soon as possible. Call us today at 336-547-9999 or send us a message on our contact page.