Note: Actor Paul Walker's last will and testament, signed by him on August 15, 2001, was filed for probate in Santa Barbara County Superior Court on January 28, 2014. The article below was written before the will was filed with the probate court. Therefore, for information about the contents of the actor's will, refer to Actor Paul Walker's Will Filed for Probate, Estate Left to a Revocable Living Trust.
When Fast and Furious star Paul Walker died in a fiery car crash on back on November 30 at the young age of 40, he left behind a tangled mess, including a 15-year-old daughter, Meadow Walker, a girlfriend of seven years, Jasmine Pilchard-Gosnell (who is currently only 23 years old, you do the math), the mother of his daughter, Rebecca McBrain (who is also known as Rebecca Soteros, they dated from 1998 to 1999, Meadow was born in November 1998), and his parents, Cheryl Walker and Paul Walker III.
With the actor's estate estimated to be worth at least $45 million and apparently no estate planning in place, California intestacy laws would make Meadow the sole heir of the estate, but that's only part of the picture. The problem is that Meadow is a minor and was living with her father at time of his death, and so as the other natural parent Ms. McBrain is also Meadow's natural guardian, meaning that Ms. McBrain has become legally responsible for her daughter's day-to-day care. But that doesn't mean that she'll be the one put in charge of managing the massive estate until Meadow reaches the age of 18, in fact, it appears that Mr. Walker's parents want to step into that role. A probate court battle will surely ensue.
And what about the girlfriend? While it's possible that Mr. Walker made her the beneficiary of life insurance or other non probate assets, if that's the case then we will never know what she received. And if there weren't any non probate assets left to her, then she certainly won't see a penny of the actor's probate estate.
Another interesting tidbit - the driver of the vehicle at the time of the crash, Roger Rodas, age 38, was a financial advisor with Merrill Lynch and was apparently one of Mr. Walker's financial advisors. So why didn't Mr. Rodas, like a good financial advisor would do, insist that Mr. Walker get an estate plan in place? Of course we'll never know the answer to that question, but it's yet another estate planning lesson learned.
- Paul Walker: Family Feud Over $45 Million Fortune
- 5 things to know about Roger Rodas, who died with Paul Walker
- What Happens if You Die Without a Last Will and Testament?
- What Does Intestacy Mean?
- What Are Non Probate Assets and Are They Included in Your Estate?
- 4 Tips for Getting Started on Your Estate Plan
- 10 Steps to Creating a Good Estate Plan
- The Team Approach to Estate Planning