The recent death of movie star Paul Walker highlighted the fact that tragedy can strike anyone at any time. The accident has also turned out to be a lesson in the importance of having an estate plan at any age. Walker’s estate plan, in particular, ensured his only child would be taken care of in the event of his early death. Any Michigan parent may benefit from understanding how he handled his estate plan pertaining to his daughter.

The star was reportedly worth roughly $25 million. Instead of simply creating a will, he funded a trust. This trust cites his only child, a daughter, as the sole beneficiary. Because a trust can be private, as opposed to a will, the details of how he wanted his assets distributed to his daughter can remain private information.

Walker named his own mother as the party in control of the trust for his daughter. Even though he presumably didn’t expect to leave his daughter before she was grown, he had the forethought to realize that the possibility of leaving a minor child existed. Walker’s fortune left to his daughter will be under the control of his mother as she proceeds to raise the girl in the aftermath of the actor’s tragic death.

When there are substantial assets to leave behind to children, minor or grown, there are several options for an estate plan. A trust is commonly used when minor children are involved. However they may be set up for adults also. Anyone in Michigan who has yet to think ahead about how best they would want their assets distributed after their death may gain from understanding how a trust could help them achieve those goals.

Source: forbes.com, Five Estate Planning Lessons From The Paul Walker Estate, Danielle and Andy Mayoras, Feb. 10, 2014