Not long after Apple co-founder and innovator Steve Jobs passed away, folks speculated how his fortune would pass. Admirably, and because he could, Jobs took a $1 salary in 2010 from Apple. However, his wealth is estimated to be $7 billion. Jobs held a large stake in the Walt Disney Co. In 2006, it was estimated that he received $242 million in dividends before taxes from his Disney stock. (Remember the part “because he could”) http://goo.gl/V7SuZ
Notably, land records in Silicon Valley reveal that Jobs and his wife transferred several real property parcels into trusts in 2009. http://goo.gl/2HG0I The virtue of revocable living trusts is that families are protected by privacy. Using a will to pass real property means that the assets must go through probate court. Properly funding a trust before death means the estate and assets remain out of the public eye. Also, jointly-owned property and assets with beneficiary designations (life insurance, 401K’s) pass outside of the probate process.
Proper planning and the strategic use of trusts is also vital for potentially difficult family dynamics. Jobs had a child out of wedlock with his high school sweetheart. A child is not automatically entitled to a share of a parent’s estate. So whether Jobs chose to provide for his children, and how much, will likely remain out of the public eye assuming he had the proper planning in place. Failing to state one’s intent with regard to planning will lead to inevitable family fighting.
While you might not be able to take a $1 salary, you can take action to ensure your planning wishes are carried out. Contact a qualified estate planning attorney at 775-688-3000.