The death of famous actor Paul Walker in a car accident came as a shock to many. The action movie star passed away at the age of 40, and he is survived by his daughter, age 15, as well as his parents. Despite the unexpected nature of his death, Walker had an estate plan in place that clearly defines how his money will be handled. The actor’s large estate will be passed entirely to his daughter.
Before he died, Walker set up a revocable living trust. His will states that all of his assets should be passed into the trust, for which his daughter will be the sole beneficiary. The inheritance will be very large, as Walker had assets totaling around $25 million. Trusts are not public documents, however, so it is not currently known if the daughter will receive all of it at once or smaller amounts over time. Estate planning attorneys can often set up trust for young adults so that there is less risk of financial mismanagement.
One aspect of the trust that would have made the probate process go more smoothly involves funding. If the trust was fully funded during Walker’s lifetime, as opposed to relying on the will to fund the trust, the family’s affairs could have been kept private and likely would have allowed them to avoid probate court altogether. While the end result is still the same, a fully-funded trust may have made the process easier for all involved.
There are often lessons that can be learned from tragedies such as this. At the very least, Massachusetts residents may wish to use Walker’s death as a reminder that you’re never too young to start estate planning. Having a plan in place may provide you and your family with some peace of mind knowing that your intentions will be carried out if a tragic event should ever occur.
Source: Forbes, “Five Estate Planning Lessons From The Paul Walker Estate” Danielle and Andy Mayoras, Feb. 10, 2014
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