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Young rapper reportedly had his estate in order when he died

As we discussed in a recent post, Aretha Franklin, despite her considerable wealth, age and poor health, died without an estate plan in place. It might be surprising, then, to learn that when 26-year-old rapper Mac Miller died earlier this month, he had an estate plan. In fact, it was reportedly similar to the one Michael Jackson had when he died in 2009.

Miller, whose real name was Malcolm McCormick, is suspected to have died from a drug overdose. However, that hasn't yet been confirmed by authorities.

Miller reportedly had his estate, which is estimated to be worth some $9 million, in a revocable trust for which he was the trustee. Revocable trusts are common in California estate plans for celebrities and noncelebrities alike. One estate planning attorney describes this type of trust as a "will in a different form."

Among the many advantages of a revocable trust is that it helps keep the estate from having to go through probate. California probate proceedings can be challenging for loved ones and others administering an estate. Because it stays out of court, the privacy of the estate and the deceased are protected. Although the rapper is believed to have left everything to his parents, that may never be known.

When Californians set up a revocable trust, they generally place most of their assets, including their home, in the trust. They have control over it while they're alive and can add or remove assets as they choose. Assets placed in a trust, like homes and bank accounts, have to be titled to reflect that they are owned by the trust.

One estate planning professional says, "What impresses me about this guy [Miller] is, he's single, young, has no kids, and yet took the time to do this. Really rare for anybody, no less someone who's an artist in the music industry."

Whether you already have an estate plan in place or you're just starting to think about it, it's worthwhile to learn whether a revocable living trust is a wise component of that plan. Your California estate planning attorney can provide information and guidance based on your own unique situation.

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