5 Fast & Furious Estate Planning Lessons from Paul Walker’s Estate
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Paul Walker, who starred in the Fast & Furious movie franchise, died tragically in a high-speed car accident in Los Angeles last November at the age of 40. His estate was opened at the end of January in the Superior Court of California, County of Santa Barbara probate court, revealing that he left assets of approximately $25 million. His survivors include his 15-year-old daughter Meadow and his parents.
1. Leave assets in a trust. Paul Walker created a pour-over will that left his assets in a revocable living trust, intending to avoid the Court process, called probate, that (when handled properly during life) makes everything totally private and keeps it all out of Court. Unfortunately, while Paul Walker had a Trust, it wasn’t properly funded … and this is an all too common estate planning failure, even when working with a lawyer.
Most lawyers simply do not handle funding of assets, the single most important part of estate planning, because they’ve been trained to be document drafters, not consigliere.
2. Fully fund your trust. The contents of Walker’s estate, who will inherit it and when are public knowledge because Walker’s lawyer didn’t take the necessary steps to make sure his Trust was properly funded. Sadly, this isn’t even a case of malpractice because it’s common practice in the world of estate planning lawyers.
When you do your estate planning (or if you already have), one of the most important thing you can do is ensure your assets are transferred properly.
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