While there may not be many assets in Hefner’s estate, there are assets held in trusts.
Questions have been raised about whether Hugh Hefner died with little money, because there were few assets in his estate. However, that doesn’t mean he was broke, according to Wealth Advisor in "Hefner Timed Death to Launch Playboy Reboot for Modern Era."
The rumors that he had little financial worth, were fueled by revelations that his estate had very few assets and there was nothing for his many ex-wives to inherit.
However, it has been learned that most of Hefner's assets were held in trusts.
In 1991, he transferred virtually everything he owned, including his shares in Playboy and the Playboy Mansion, into a trust.
He later created another trust to hold shares in Playboy that he purchased from other shareholders.
This arrangement would leave his estate with few assets, but he still controlled all of his assets through the trusts.
The terms of the larger trust gave him lifetime control of Playboy as editor of the magazine and an annual salary of $1 million. It is not clear who will control everything now, since the full details of the trusts are not publicly known.
An estate planning attorney can advise you in creating an estate plan that fits your unique circumstances that may include the use of trusts.
Reference: Wealth Advisor (Oct. 10, 2017) "Hefner Timed Death to Launch Playboy Reboot for Modern Era."