Steve Jobs, the visionary computer technology innovator who died October 5, likely set up living trusts prior to his passing, ensuring that the distribution of his assets will remain private.
In March 2009, Jobs and his wife, Laurene, transferred their ownership of three residential Silicon Valley properties to two different trusts, Reuters reported. This is an indication Jobs probably undertook comprehensive planning to minimize estate taxes - which can run to 35 percent of assets - and to determine what individuals and organizations will be beneficiaries of his fortune, according to Forbes.
Speaking to ABC News, estate planning guru Danielle Mayoras said Jobs almost certainly set up living trusts, given his famously private nature. Unlike a last will and testament, a living trust does not have to be approved by a probate court, meaning it is a discreet way to distribute an inheritance.
"If you do do a trust, there's nothing that goes through the probate court and no public documents. Unless his family comes forth publicly, we're not going to know how he is distributing his wealth," Mayoras told ABC.
Forbes also pointed out that estate planning is especially important when family situations are complicated, so Jobs would have had another reason to set up trusts, since he had a child from a relationship that occurred prior to his marriage.
Jobs' fortune probably totaled around $7 billion as of September 2011, Forbes reported.