Wednesday, November 23, 2011, 05:08 pm PT (08:08 pm ET)
Steve Jobs' wife to manage $4.6 billion trust of Disney sharesLaurene Powell, the widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, will manage a $4.6 billion trust containing the 138 million shares of the Walt Disney Co. that Jobs acquired when he sold Pixar in 2006.
In the wake of Jobs' death last month, speculation arose on what would be done with his estate, estimated to be worth $7 billion. Securities filings on Wednesday revealed that his Disney shares, which represented the majority of his wealth, have been placed in a trust.
The trust is Disney's largest shareholder with a 7.7 percent stake in the media conglomerate. Jobs originally acquired the shares in 2006 when he sold Pixar to the company for $7.4 billion. At the time, Jobs owned more than half of Pixar's stock.
Tax experts recently suggested that Jobs' family should sell off all of his Apple and Disney stock in order to avoid higher taxes later on and diversify the investment portfolio. According to a recent report from Bloomberg, the family could have saved $867 million in capital gains taxes.
"I can't see any reason not to sell all of it," Kacy Gott, chief planning officer at the wealth-management firm Aspiriant, told the publication. "They should have been looking to diversify years ago."
However, placing the shares into a trust is method for mitigating tax exposure on gains made from the shares, though it's not immediately clear what type of trust was set up in this case. According to Bloomberg, earlier proxy statements did show that Jobs was moving his assets into trusts toward the end of his life.
Some have speculated that Powell will use a portion of the trust's funds for philanthropic work. She has been an active participant in the non-profit sector and currently sits on the board of the Teach for America program.
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