On February 13, 2014

Entertainment fans in Colorado were surprised when movie star Paul Walker was killed in a car accident on Nov. 30, 2013, at the age of 40. While he left a will that provides for his daughter, people can learn some important lessons regarding estate planning from his example. His assets of about $25 million were divided nearly evenly between liquid assets, potential future earnings and real estate.

His daughter, Meadow, was named as the sole beneficiary of all his assets. While the details of the trust are private, probate information, including the amount and beneficiary, are public. While common thought would lean toward naming a child’s mother as the overseer of the trust, Walker instead named his mother as the trustee. If there is a problem with a trustee, a second person could also be named. There are conflicting reports about whether Meadow was living with Walker’s mother when he died.

Walker demonstrated the benefits of a trust and included a will under the umbrella of a trust, which is a good idea for most people. A trust helps avoid a lengthy probate process. In addition, Meadow will probably receive the money over time, although the details aren’t certain. In this case, Walker funneled all of his assets through his will into his trust. However, a will is public information. Walker organized his finances when he was only 28 and did not put off this important financial matter. However, he didn’t update his trust for a dozen years, which is a negative since his assets grew substantially during that time.

Once a person begins accumulating wealth, they need to address estate planning. An estate planning attorney could help a client establish or update a trust.

Source: Forbes, “Five Estate Planning Lessons From The Paul Walker Estate“, Danielle Mayoras, Andy Mayoras, February 10, 2014

Categories: Estate Planning

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