Actor Paul Walker, most famous for his role in the “Fast & Furious” film franchise, died in a car accident on November 30, 2013. As news of his passing spread, celebrities and fans alike shared a collective disbelief. This young, promising actor, who conquered many death-defying situations on screen, was gone at the age of forty. Unfortunately, Paul Walker’s death serves as another tragic example of how fragile life really is. Indeed, it is a wake-up call to all those who maintain the “it will never happen to me” mindset.
Recently, Walker’s Last Will and Testament was made public when his father opened probate. The following is a list of some important lessons that should be considered when creating an estate plan.
1. You’re young? So what? Now is the time to create an estate plan.
Paul Walker was around 28 years old when he signed his will and 40 years old at his death. These facts tell us two things: (1) Walker understood at a young age the importance of having a plan; and (2) you don’t always see the end coming. Whether you’re young or old, do not fall victim to the idea that bad things can never happen to you, or that you don’t have enough assets to worry about having an estate plan. Take the time to get your affairs in order.
2. A properly funded revocable living trust is a key component of an estate plan
A revocable living trust is a private document that allows you to manage your assets during life and effectuates your wishes upon death. A trust is an important estate planning tool because it allows the bypass of probate, making the estate administration process simpler and more private. Paul Walker created a revocable living trust, but did not properly fund the trust. Funding is the process of transferring assets into the name of the trust during one’s lifetime. Because his trust was not properly funded, Walker’s $25 million estate must pass through probate. His loved ones could have avoided the publicity, time, and expense of probate, had the trust been properly funded.
3. Regularly review and update your estate plan
Paul Walker created his trust and pour-over-will over twelve years ago. There are many changes a person can experience over a twelve-year period that could substantially impact an estate plan. Even if his desires didn’t change, the actor’s $25 million estate is significantly higher than the federal estate tax threshold. Much like a car requires regular maintenance, a trust should be reviewed about every 3 years to ensure it’s properly maintained.
These are just a few lessons that can be learned from Paul Walker’s untimely death. To discuss these and other important estate plan considerations, contact the law firm of Morris Hall to set up your free consultation today.
Contributed by MH Phoenix Estate Planning Attorney, Darren Richardson.
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You have a number of options when it comes to estate planning, so why pick Morris Hall? First off, estate planning and asset protection are a very complicated endeavor and you should only trust someone who focuses exclusively on those matters. Also, MH is a proud member of The American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys (AAEPA) which provides us additional support, advanced training, tools and information that is not available to others – which means that we can better protect your assets and your loved ones. We are one of only two firms in Arizona that belong to the AAEPA and are the only firm in New Mexico that has been granted membership. If you have assets and loved ones that you want to protect, you are in good hands with MH. Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.