Forbes recently had an interesting article entitled Five Estate Planning Lessons from the Paul Walker Estate. It provides an interesting insight into the estate plan of the late actor that was valued at 25 million dollars. His untimely death at 40 years old also shows that estate planning can never be done too early. His first will was signed when he was 28 years old.
Paul Walker had a revocable living trust, which is highly recommended for most people who would come to visit me for a consultation. His will left all his assets to his revocable living trust. In addition to avoiding the publicity and costs of probate, his revocable living trust greatly assists in passing assets to his fifteen year old child in a controlled fashion. Although we don’t know exactly what his revocable living trust says on giving assets to his child, a good estate plan for someone with significant assets will distribute assets to children in a controlled fashion and not simply give all assets to them when they turn 18.
As discussed in previous posts, having a revocable living trust is only the start. The revocable living trust must be funded with your property meaning that deeds for real estate must be transferred to the revocable living trust and personal property such as bank accounts, brokerage accounts, and individual stocks must be transferred to the name of the trust.
In addition to having the revocable living trust, you will also need a will. For individuals and couples with minor children, a will is the only method to name a guardian after your death. In Paul Walker’s case, he named his mother as the guardian for his daughter. Although a grandmother will not take custody rights over a parent, it is smart estate planning to name a back up if the need would arise.
Estate planning is not just for celebrities and those with significant assets. The issues raised by Paul Walker’s estate could arise in the average middle class family’s estate particularly when young children are involved.
Please contact Attorney Anthony Marinaccio at (818) 839-5220 to set up a free initial consultation to discuss your estate plan or amending your estate plan.