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Hugh Hefner's estate plan

Many people remember Hugh Hefner for his Playboy enterprise and his fondness for pinups. However, it should also be noted that he had an excellent business sense when it came to planning his estate. Careful estate planning is important for anyone, even for Colorado residents who do not own a global enterprise or have an estate as large as Hefner's.

With the rise of digital publishing, many print magazines saw their sales decline. After Hefner partnered with a private equity firm to buy the Playboy stock in 2011, he walked away with a 37 percent ownership stake, an employment agreement that paid him $1 million per year and gave him editorial control over the Playboy brand and the right to live in the Playboy mansion nearly rent free for life.

When Hefner married his third wife the parties signed a prenuptial agreement that provided her with $5 million as well as a house transferred to a trust in her name worth another $5 million. This agreement helped protect his heirs in the case of his death while ensuring that his wife could continue to live comfortably.

According to sources close to Hefner who had the opportunity to examine his estate planning documents, he devised about half of his net worth to his four children and the rest to charity. Charitable bequests in an estate plan can benefit beneficiaries in some cases by helping them avoid costly estate taxes.

An estate planning attorney may be able to help clients maximize the use of trusts and other documents to ensure that loved ones are protected. A good estate plan can help minimize penalties such as property taxes and also ensure that the person bequeathing their estate can live comfortably during the rest of their life.

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