Usually art imitates life; however it also works in the opposite direction as well. This seems to have been the case with Paul Walker, who most people in Maryland may remember as the star actor in the Fast & Furious movie series. The actor was recently killed in a high-speed car crash. However, the actor's death has put light on various estate administration issues which could be applicable to anybody.
One lesson which many people can learn from Walker's estate planning strategy is the use of a revocable living trust. Some individuals only create a last will and testament and believe this is enough planning for distributing an estate. Although a will is important, beneficiaries will still have to go through the probate process in order to receive assets left to them from an estate. Walker's will left all of his assets to a trust which he had created, which will make the probate process more streamlined and simpler.
Another smart estate planning move which Walker made was to name a guardian for his minor child in his will. Walker named his mother, the grandmother, as the guardian of his daughter. However, this does not mean that the mother will automatically lose custody of the daughter. On the other hand, if the mother is deemed unfit by a court, custody of the daughter will be more easily decided.
These estate planning moves are just some of the strategies available to use when planning for estate administration in Maryland or in any other state. However, it is important to look at each individual situation, since not all estate planning goals are the same. Additionally, it is important to carefully draft the legal text of the estate planning documents in order to avoid having the documents challenged in probate court.
Source: Forbes, Five Estate Planning Lessons From The Paul Walker Estate, Danielle and Andy Mayoras, Feb. 10, 2014