Pat Robertson left a large estate.
Pat Robertson lived a long life as a prominent conservative Christian.
He died in June at age 93.
His entrepreneurial nature led him to found a variety of nonprofit and for-profit enterprises.
These include Regent University, the American Center for Law and Justice, The Christian Broadcasting Network, International Family Entertainment, and Operation Blessing.
According to a recent Investment News article titled “‘700 Club’ founder Pat Robertson’s death raises estate planning questions,“ Pat Robertson left a financial and cultural legacy.
Through his televangelist hosting of “The 700 Club” and various other projects, he helped shape modern American conservatism and its connection to the Republican Party.
Pat Robertson was not shy about his convictions and beliefs, and many of his comments on social issues were considered divisive.
Many people wonder whether his estate planning will also be contentious upon his death.
It has been estimated his enterprises brought in hundreds of millions of dollars.
Pat Robertson owned 27 acres in rural Virginia, with an 11,000-square-foot luxury retreat.
Other significant assets may include religious recordings, intellectual property rights, ancillary interests in his broadcasting network, and his name and image.
Specifically, the right to publish under his name could be profitable.
With the size of an estate like his, Pat Robertson would have benefited from a trust.
With a trust, he could include directions and provisions to use portions of The 700 Club to benefit nonprofit organizations.
Doing so would reduce the tax liability for his extensive estate.
Why would this work?
Giving gifts to charitable organizations either outright or through a charitable trust deducts the amount from the estate’s value.
When the estate valuation is lower, the tax liability is also reduced.
Currently, tax laws do not limit the amount of charitable bequests an estate can make.
By using charitable trusts, individuals can still control the use of donated funds after their deaths.
If Pat Robertson did not have a trust, his estate liability would be increased and his control of assets decreased.
If he died without an estate plan, his estate would be subject to the intestacy laws of Virginia.
As a political and social conservative, Pat Robertson would likely be unhappy with the bulk of his estate being subject to the whims and taxes of the government.
We may never know the details of the Pat Robertson estate plan, but there was likely a plan.
Done right, his estate taxes will be minimized, expenses will be contained, and his privacy will be maintained.
Reference: Investment News (June 9, 2023) “‘700 Club’ founder Pat Robertson’s death raises estate planning questions“