The $25 Million Last Will of Paul Walker - Who was in It?
By: Dana Altman
Date: March 20, 2014
Paul Walker, whose life was unexpectedly and tragically cut short in a fiery car crash at age 40, left behind his 15 year-old daughter, Meadow Rain Walker. However, he did manage to take care of her after his death by providing for her in his last will and testament. He left all of his estimated $25 million estate to his daughter Meadow, and appointed his father as the executor. Because Meadow is still a minor, he also named his wife Cheryl Ann Walker as guardian to care for her and her finances. By making his daughter the sole beneficiary and naming his wife as the guardian of her person and estate, he did his best to safeguard her welfare. Because his death was so sudden and unexpected, he obviously did this not only because he was a loving and responsible father, but he also understood the need to be prepared for the unexpected.
If you have children, you go to great lengths to look after them. However, there may be legal loose ends. Have you made your plan for the unplanned? Caring for your family will not end when you die. Your estate plan can help make sure your love and care of them continues.
We don’t like to think about leaving our friends and loved ones, but we all need to decide what we want to see happen to our assets, debts and other matters when we die. If your spouse should die with you or your child’s other parent is already deceased, you need to have a plan for who will care for your child. Making a plan now avoids leaving these decisions to the court, strangers, and your family at a time when emotions run high Such decision-making responsibility can create dissent among grieving family members and put stress on those you love.
When thinking about estate planning, consider your family, your friends, your church or whoever depends on you while you are alive. What would happen to them financially when you are gone? Will they have what they need to live? How are you bills going to get paid, particularly funeral expenses and other debts? Who would be responsible for raising the children and taking care of their finances until they are old enough?
Inheritances in a will are given to the heirs outright. One can only imagine what a 15 year-old girl would do if given $25 million at once. Paul Walker was wise enough to think about that, and created a living trust, so that the trustee could distribute the money over time, according to his instructions. His last will was made next, so that it could reference the trust fund. This type of will is called a pour over will. Not only does it allow continued management of assets after your death, it also acts as a safety net to take care of newly acquired or omitted assets that aren’t mentioned in the will.
Your last will and testament is the legal document that tells world through the probate court how you want your assets handled, including using them to pay your bills. If you die without a will, state laws of intestacy will apply. If intestate laws apply, strangers or estranged family members could be asked to make those choices for your estate. A court appointed administrator, who usually gets paid from your estate, is appointed and takes charge.
Care for your family now and always, and let your final wishes be heard. The best way to ensure this is by creating a valid legal last will and testament.
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