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Details of actor Paul Walker's estate become public

Many New York residents likely saw and read the news stories about the fatal car accident that claimed the life of actor Paul Walker last November. At the time of his death, the 40-year-old star of the Fast & Furious movies was worth an estimated $25 million. He was survived by his 15-year-old daughter from a previous relationship, his long-time girlfriend of seven years and his parents.

Details related to some of Walker's estate recently became public record. In his will, Walker made mention of the existence of a revocable living trust of which is 15-year-old daughter is the sole benefactor. While specific details, such as total assets, of the trust are not a matter of public record, portions of his estate were forced to go through the probate process as Walker failed to fully fund the trust.

The public probate records shows that, at the time of his death, Walker had amassed personal assets worth about $25 million. Total assets included $8.5 million in real estate, $8.5 million in anticipated earnings and another $8 million in investments and cash. Walker's daughter is only 15-years-old and, therefore, the assets held in the trust will be managed by a named caretaker. In this case, Walker named his mother as both the trust's caretaker as well as his daughter's guardian. It's likely, however, that the 15-year-old will continue to live with her mother who has primary custody.

Walker's trust was executed when he was just 28-years-old. He made no revisions to the will in the 12 years prior to his death. However, during those 12 years, a lot changed for the actor. His professional success resulted in a substantial increase in assets. Likewise, he met and fell in love with another woman whom he reportedly planned to marry. These major life changes, along with those that may have impacted the lives of his parents and daughter, would likely have spurred the late action to make revisions to his estate plan. Walker's premature death proves that, when it comes to estate planning, it's never too early to take action.

Source: Forbes, "Five Estate Planning Lessons From The Paul Walker Estate," Danielle and Andy Mayoras, Feb. 10, 2014

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