Father’s Day is this Sunday. Who says only dads get gifts? They can also give the best gift ever… after reading this. Unfortunately, MANY FATHERS DON’T PLAN TO FAIL, THEY FAIL TO PLAN. The best gift you can give to dad, is encouraging him to plan ahead for the family, and to make an Estate Plan. This is especially true with Covid still lingering. All of us have been focused on health for the last few years, and well… SHIT HAPPENS!

It is very common to talk to clients who have a trust, but have never FUNDED it. In that regard we can learn from film and TV actor Paul Walker of Fast and Furious fame. While on his way home he was killed in a car accident on November 30, 2013. His death, and what he did or did not do, can teach us a few things about estate planning.

As most of my readers know from previous articles, a Revocable Living Trust, like the one Walker had, is an important component of an estate plan. Most attorneys use a trust as the primary estate planning vehicle, as it is a good way to manage assets during life and death. At death, it allows for privacy by avoiding the normal public process of Probate.

The public is not privy to what is in a Trust document. They cannot open it for inspection, as is the case with a probate, which allows anyone to “check out” your private finances.

However the FUNDING of a trust is necessary to achieve privacy and other related benefits. Walker did not fund his trust completely. Thus he was in the same boat as other famous people who did not have a trust… people like Walt Disney, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, J.P. Morgan and John Rockefeller, to name a few.

Though a trust is a great idea, there are very few benefits if the trust during life is not funded. As a result Walker’s $25 million of assets, were outside the trust. We can substantiate this because those assets outside of his trust will now have to be probated. Thankfully, in Walker’s case, he is protected because he had a “pour-over-will”, and thus they go into the trust. Probate’s publicity, and costs, could have been avoided if the assets had been in the trust during his lifetime.

It is just as important to have an Estate Plan when you are young, as it is when you are older. All too often young people, like 40 year old Paul Walker, can die both from natural causes and from accidents. Walker should have had more than half his life ahead of him. But as we have all seen with our own family and friends, life does not always work out the way we expect. Many of us have lost family and friends over the last few years from Covid and other maladies. All too often People don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan! However Walker thankfully was wise in that he had planned ahead and secured an estate plan.

Many young people take the approach “I do not have an estate”. The good news is that whoever you are, and however old you are, and regardless of how little or how much money or other assets you have, YOU DO HAVE AN ESTATE. The BAD news is that, unless you take the time to ensure that both you and what you have is safely monitored, your community estate could be a mess.

Walker was a well-known film and television star, and he thought of others by planning his estate. Every reader should put this Coachella Valley Weekly down and consider an estate plan and filing a health care directive with Eisenhower or Desert Regional….today. A health care directive is VERY INEXPENSIVE, so call us today for direction.