1. The importance of a trust. A revocable living trust is the best estate planning option for many people. Because Paul Walker’s will left all his assets to the trust he created, the probate process should be simpler. Also, the trust will allow for assets to be given to his daughter, Meadow as sole beneficiary gradually instead of all at once when she turns 18.
2. The need to fully fund a trust. Paul Walker did not fully fund his trust and instead, relied on his will. While the assets will still go to his daughter, the process is more complicated than it would have been if he had fully funded his trust. Had his trust been fully funded, the probate court could have been avoided entirely and the entire matter could have been kept private.
3. Importance of naming a guardian for minor children. Walker named Meadow’s grandmother as guardian. While Meadow’s mother will not necessarily lose custody of her, Walker was smart to address guardianship in case Meadow’s mother becomes unable to care for her.
4. Don’t wait to do estate planning. Walker’s death was unexpected, but fortunately he had estate planning documents in place.
5. Estate planning documents need to be updated. Walker created his estate planning documents in 2001. Unfortunately, he did not update his will to account for changes in his wealth which means his estate could face heavy federal taxes.