• Fast and Furious Star Might Have Written His Will Too Quickly

    Business law attorney

    The sudden and unforeseen deaths of Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Walker were tragic on their own. However, they were made even worse by the fact that neither put the time or effort they should into proper estate planning. For Hoffman, that resulted in discrepancies regarding how his estate would be allocated and, for Walker — who had a $25 million estate at the time of his death but had not updated his will since 2001 — it means issues over who got custody of his 15-year-old daughter. Awkward language and a lack of updates to the will have left some questions.
    According to TMZ, Walker’s will was “poorly drafted…making it SEEM like he wanted his mom to wrestle parental control of his daughter from his baby mama.” Considering the fact that Walker was happy with the arrangement he had with Meadow’s mother, Rebecca Soteros, at the time, it seemed strange that Walker wanted custody to be granted to his mother. In fact, Soteros was not even mentioned. That was made even more awkward by the fact that Soteros lives in Hawaii and Cheryl, his mother, lives in California.
    Interestingly enough, though Soteros has petitioned to maintain custody, it seems that Walker will get his wish, since Meadow wants to move to California, rather than continue living in Hawaii. Both the mother and grandmother seem OK with that arrangement, but in a wild turn, it has become evident that Soteros’ drinking problem is the reason why Meadow wanted to move. At the end of March, Walker’s mother said that the only way she would allow Soteros to remain the guardian is if she entered rehab, which she did.
    In the end, it seems that the case will work out, and Walker’s daughter will be properly provided for. But complications could have been avoided if Walker had worked with a good estate planning attorney regularly to update his will. Though a talented actor, it is not likely that Walker had much, if any, experience with asset protection or knowledge of estate planning basics. So working with a professional every year or two would have been the smarter course of action.
    For the average person, worrying about a $25 million estate isn’t a concern, and drafting a will might be much easier. But when kids are involved, it doesn’t matter how wealthy or famous you might be; they need to be provided for. The best way to do that, should tragedy strike, is to hire an attorney and keep your will updated.
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