Continuing with our theme of “learning life lessons” from the rich and famous, it is important to update or at least review your documents every three (3) to five (5) years.
Philip Seymour Hoffman died at 46. He did have a trust, which benefited his son and his long-time girlfriend. However, he never updated his estate plan to account for his two children that were born after his son. In addition, the terms of his son’s trust distributed millions to him outright at the age of 30. This brings up another question. At what age is a person responsible for handling a significant amount of money? The answer to this question of course, depends on the individual, but this question should be considered in your estate plan.
Another important-but-often-overlooked issue is making sure your trust is funded.
Paul W. Walker IV the actor from the “Fast and Furious” had a trust, but it didn’t have anything in it. Because his trust was not funded during his life, his estate became public, and also included the unintended consequences of the costly probate process. Going back to our last lesson, he also failed to update his estate plan for twelve (12) years. That being the case, did his trust even reflect his current intent? We don’t know!
These are only a couple of examples of how the unexpected things in life can cause problems for our families. It is always best to consult your estate planning attorney to make sure that you and your family are prepared for the unexpected.