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Top 5 Florida Estate Planning Lessons Learned from Paul Walker’s Estate

Uncategorized Dec 31, 2014
post about Top 5 Florida Estate Planning Lessons Learned from Paul Walker’s Estate

While Paul Walker’s death was of course a tragedy, there are five imporant take-aways that one can learn from his estate…

  1. Put Your Faith In A Trust.

Having a will is only the start.  A trust is the best estate planning (Aventura) tool for most people.  Walker’s will left all of his assets to a trust he created, which means the probate process will be much simpler and less onerous than it could have been.

  1. To Be Most Effective, Trusts Need To Be Fully Funded During Life.

The reason we know that Walker had a will, trust, and $25 million in assets is because he didn’t fully fund his trust.  When trusts are fully funded — meaning that assets are transferred into the name of the trust during lifetime — then there is nothing left to pass through the will.  This means the probate court process can be completely avoided.  This wasn’t the case here – which is why Paul Walker’s family needed to open an estate.

  1. Naming A Guardian For Minor Children Is Always A Good Idea.

Paul Walker gets a big point for naming a guardian for his daughter, Meadow, in his will.  Does that mean that Meadow’s mother will now lose custody of her?  Not necessarily.   The law still favors the custodial parents, meaning that Meadow’s grandmother will not take overguardianship unless the mother agrees or is found to be unfit.  It was still smart for Walker to address guardianship though, in case Meadow’s mother isn’t able or suitable to keepcustody for any reason.

  1. No One Should Wait Until They Are Old To Do Estate Planning.

Paul Walker’s will was signed in August of 2001, when he was only 28 years old.  This is the same year his first Fast & Furious movie was released.  Walker is to be commended for preparing a will and trust at a young age, before he was well-known movie star.  Far too many adults in this country wait until “someday” to prepare even a basic will.  No one should ever procrastinate with estate planning (Boca Raton)!  Walker certainly didn’t plan to die in a car accident.

  1. Wills, Trusts, And Other Estate Planning Documents Need To Be Updated.

While Walker gets kudos for planning ahead, he loses points for failing to update his estate planning documents (Miami) before he died.  His death was more than twelve years after he signed his will.  There are too many changes in life over the course of twelve years — especially when Walker’s net worth grew so much during that time — to rely on the same old documents.

These are all good lessons to share with loved ones, clients, and friends — or even to think about yourself.  How does your will and trust West Palm Beach measure up to Paul Walker’s?  Why not visit an experienced West Palm Beach estate planning attorney and find out?