Lee Radziwill sets example for proactive estate planning

New York-born socialite and style icon Lee Radziwill left more than just an impressive legacy behind when she passed away in early 2019. The younger sister of Jackie Kennedy was also proactive about how she handled her estate. Radziwill opted to have a will and revocable trust, which allows provisions to be canceled or altered by the trust-holder or grantor at any time prior to his or her death.

It’s not unusual for wealthy individuals to have a trust or even multiple trusts and subtrusts to avoid probate and the need for a will. However, Radziwill’s approach to estate planning did include a will to handle certain aspects of the administration of her estate. Since the will had to be probated, details of her estate plans are known. The will was put into place less than six months before her death. While this may seem odd, Radziwill may have done so to make sure the document was current, especially if she was in ill health.

The interior decorator and PR executive took a multigenerational approach with her trust, which references three related trusts covering three different generations. The revocable trust also had a special power of appointment that passed into a trust that was created for Radziwill’s daughter. It was also limited, meaning only certain individuals can inherit assets included in the trust. This document was updated in 2017, suggesting that keeping estate wishes current was a priority for Radziwill.

It’s not necessary for someone to have the same kind of assets that Lee Radziwill had to benefit from input provided by an estate planning attorney. A lawyer may suggest a detailed audit of a client’s current assets if there is some confusion over what kind of documents are appropriate. Arrangements can also be made to allow some assets to be transferred before the person’s death.

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