Paul Walker’s Will & Why It Matters

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The Last Will of Paul Walker

Like many celebrity deaths, Paul Walker’s passing was sudden and tragic. Known for his starring role in The Fast and the Furious movie franchise, Walker was killed on November 30, 2013 in a fiery car accident. Initially, police reports cited speeding as the cause — the Porsche Paul Walker died in was believed to be traveling at more than 100 miles per hour.

Several months later, the widow of Roger Rodas, the man driving the Porsche at the time of the crash, filed a wrongful death lawsuit claiming that vehicle malfunction — and not excessive speed — caused the death of her husband and Paul Walker. In addition, Paul Walker’s father recently filed to have his son’s estate opened.

Consider the following lessons you can learn from Walker’s estate planning and last will:

  • Revocable living trusts — The probate process revealed that Walker had around $25 million in assets when he passed away. Additionally, the probate filing showed that Walker had set up a revocable living trust with his daughter, Meadow, named as the sole beneficiary. By creating a revocable living trust for Meadow, Walker ensured that probate would be much simpler and that the details of the trust would remain confidential. At the same time, setting up a revocable living trust is not always the best option for your estate plan.  It’s important to speak to an estate planning attorney to make sure you create the device that works best for you.
  • Guardianships — Another lesson we can learn from Paul Walker is the value of guardianships. In his will, Mr. Walker named his mother as guardian over his daughter Meadow. Although Meadow now lives with her own mother, if her mother passes away, becomes incapacitated or is deemed unfit, Meadow’s paternal grandmother assumes guardianship.
  • Estate planning — A common misconception about estate planning is that only those approaching the age of retirement need to worry about creating estate plans. In fact, anyone with significant assets or beneficiaries to whom he or she intends to leave assets should have a plan in place. Responsibly, Paul Walker signed his will in 2001, when he was just 28 years old.
  • Updating your will — One mistake Paul Walker made regarding his estate plan is that he never updated his will. His death came 12 years after he created the will, during which time could have decided to leave assets to his girlfriend and/or parents in addition to his daughter.

Carefully planning your estate is more than just a courtesy to your loved ones — it’s a responsibility. To ensure that your wishes are accurately and effectively carried out, seek help from a qualified attorney when preparing your will and other estate documents. Learn more about wills, trusts and probate in Springfield, Union County, or elsewhere in NJ — email Alec Borenstein, Esq., a partner with the firm, at alec@bmcestateplanning.com or call 908-­236-­6457 today.

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