Justin Raber Attorney at Law

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Following the estate planning example of Hugh Hefner

Most people in West Virginia may not hold up Hugh Hefner as a role model. However, those who advocate estate planning certainly feel Mr. Hefner had qualities to emulate. The founder of Playboy Enterprises built a fortune from a few thousand dollars and carefully prearranged for that fortune to provide security for his loved ones.

Only 7 years ago, when Hefner went through his second divorce, reports placed his net worth around $43 million, not including the value of his Playboy stock. The following year, Hefner negotiated a deal that left him with 37 percent ownership of the company and a million-dollar annual salary. When Hefner married his third wife, he was careful to draft a prenuptial agreement that protected his wealth and provided well for his wife, who was younger than most of his four children.

While nothing official has been reported, those closest to Hefner speculate that he divided his wealth among his children and various charities. He may also have provided additional funds to his wife, who cared for him in his final years. It is likely that Hefner's estate plans were in the form of trusts to keep the details private and to avoid probate.

In addition to designating the distribution of his substantial assets, Hefner's plans included arrangements for his final resting place, purchasing the burial plot beside actress Marilyn Monroe. While some in West Virginia may not respect the philosophies of Hugh Hefner, all can learn a lesson about estate planning. Even those who do not have millions of dollars can take steps to provide carefully for their families.

Source: Forbes, "Hugh Hefner, Role Model? He Was When It Came To Estate Planning", Danielle and Andy Mayoras, Oct. 9, 2017

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