On behalf of the firm
In recent news, the tragic death of Paul Walker took the entertainment world by surprise. The actor, while not necessarily a household name but still beloved by millions, was killed in a single-car crash which also claimed the life of his close friend and financial advisor Roger Rodas.
An actor passing away from an accident at such a young age is certainly a surprise, and no one could possibly have prepared for that outcome, but luckily in one way Walker was prepared: His estate.
Walker, who was 40 at the time of his passing, had taken the extremely proactive step of setting up a will at the early age of 28. While it is relatively uncommon to have a will at that age, it is a fantastic thing for him to have done. He even had the foresight to assign his mother as a guardian for his daughter, who at the time of his filing was 3. If he had not have assigned a guardian for his now 15-year-old daughter, she would likely have gone to her birth mother, who has been in the news several times recently for alcohol-related problems.
However, despite making the excellent decision to set up a will, he had not updated it at all in the 12 years since, and unfortunately, he really should have. His net worth has relatively exploded since he was 28, which means that a decent-sized piece of his estate will be subject to taxation. Also, his 7-year girlfriend, who he planned to marry, is not in his will at all, so undoubtedly contrary to Walker’s intention, she will not be inheriting any of his estate either.
This whole situation goes to show that estate planning and setting up wills is not a set-it-and-forget-it thing. Life changes rapidly and often, and for a person’s will to not reflect any recent changes is never a good idea. This doesn’t just apply to millionaire celebrities, either. It is always a good idea to go over your will regularly.
If you are ever in need of setting up a will, or going over it to update, do not hesitate to contact an experienced estate planning attorney today.