Who Was Paul Walker?
Paul Walker was an internationally famous American actor. He began his career guest-starring in several television shows such as The Young and the Restless and Touched by an Angel. Walker gained prominence with breakout roles in coming-of-age and teen films such as She’s All That and Varsity Blues. In 2001, Walker gained international fame for his portrayal of Brian O’Conner in the street racing action film The Fast and the Furious. He would reprise the role in five of the next six Fast and Furious movies. He also starred in the National Geographic Channel series, Expedition Great White.
Outside of acting, Paul Walker was quite the philanthropist. He founded the charity Reach Out Worldwide (ROWW). The organization provides relief effort for areas affected by natural disasters.
Tragically, Walker perished in a car wreck. On November 30th, 2013 he and his friend, Roger Rodas, were allegedly drifting on the way home from a ROWW charity event. Rodas crashed the Porsche Carrera GT into a concrete lamppost killing him and Walker both. Walker was only 40 years old and left behind a young daughter.
The probate filing of Walker’s estate revealed he had assets of about 25 million dollars. This included eight million in personal property, $8.5 in expected income, and another $8.5 million in real estate (after subtracting mortgages). He had a revocable living trust with his daughter as the sole beneficiary. However, the trust was not fully funded during his life. Walker relied on a pour-over Will that passed everything along to his trust. The end result is the same, because the trust, not the Will, dictates who receives the assets and when. However, the Will and probate filings are all public record. Consequently, Walker’s privacy wasn’t respected in the way it could have been if he’d properly funded his trust during his lifetime. In other words, the probate court process could have been completely avoided.
Paul Walker, Estate Planning Champ or Chump?
There was a lot that world renowned actor Paul Walker did right when it came to estate planning. His choices to create a trust and name a guardian for his daughter, Meadow, were wise. These choices played a huge role in ensuring that his daughter received the care and upbringing that Walker wanted for her even though he’s gone. Yet, his failure to properly fund his trust and regularly update his plan created problems that could’ve been avoided. This includes estate taxes, probate filings, and the publicity of his Will being made public.
It’s important to choose an estate planning lawyer that will work alongside you in preserving your legacy for years to come. If you want to minimize your estate planning taxes and/or avoid the probate process, contact The Mendel Law Firm, L.P. for a free consultation on estate planning, trust planning, and/or probate issues.