When a Will turns from a private to a public document

Jeffrey Epstein signed a Will 2 days before his death leaving assets to a private trust called the 1953 Trust. There is speculation that this in an attempt to keep his heirs secret.

A Will is a private document whilst an individual is a live, but a Will in probate becomes a public document open to public inspection. However, in this situation the trust would remain private.

It is important to take legal advice when preparing a Will. To ensure that everything included in your Will you would want to be open to public inspection, and that you are protecting your personal legacy.

Two days before his suicide in a Manhattan jail, Jeffrey Epstein signed a will bequeathing his private islands, homes in Paris, New York and New Mexico and the other pieces of a half-billion dollar fortune to a private trust in the US Virgin Islands in one final effort to shield his affairs and keep his heirs secret.

Epstein, 66, a convicted paedophile who was awaiting trial on charges of sex trafficking, signed the will before two witnesses at the Manhattan Correctional Center on August 8.

The use of a trust, named the 1953 Trust, was seen by estate lawyers as a strategy to keep the identity of his beneficiaries from the public record. While the will would be a public document, details of the trust would remain private.