The late movie legend Burt Reynolds caused a stir recently when it was reported that he’d left his only son out of his will.
The news raised eyebrows because the star of Smokey and the Bandit and The Cannonball Run was believed to have a strong relationship with his son, Quinton Anderson Reynolds.
Reynolds died in September 2018 at the age of 82. His will, according to the TMZ website, reportedly stated that 30-year-old Quinton was “intentionally omitted” because “I have provided for him during my lifetime in my Declaration of Trust.”
The mention of a trust, which court documents revealed was set up several years ago, implies that Quinton may still benefit from his father’s estate.
As in the UK, wills are public documents but trusts are not. While media outlets are able to obtain wills and write articles about them, they have no way of knowing what’s in a trust. In the case of Burt Reynolds’ case, there’s no way of confirming whether Quinton is indeed named in the trust.
Is there an explanation?
It’s possible that Burt Reynolds set up the trust to ensure his and Quinton’s financial affairs remained private. Any relatives that were excluded may also find it more difficult to challenge in court.
Another reason for setting up the trust could be to avoid estate taxes. Trusts are a popular alternative to wills in Florida, where Reynolds lived, as they avoid the need for probate.
However, the legal website Above The Law reported the Reynolds’ estate was worth $5 million. In the US, that’s below the threshold for paying estate taxes.
It seems that Burt Reynolds put all his assets into the trust. So, we may never know how much he was worth. The star had previously gone bankrupt in 1996 with debts of $10 million but didn’t regret his lifestyle. “I would have spent more money and had a lot more fun,” he told Vanity Fair in 2015.
Trusts are also popular here in the UK. Many people use them as a way of reducing the burden of inheritance tax. The inheritance tax threshold is currently £325,000. So, there’s a good chance your estate will be over that limit if you own a property.