People in Nevada have likely heard of the death of actor Luke Perry. Perry died at age 52 after he suffered a massive stroke. He was placed on life support for one week, and his family made the decision to remove life support after he suffered a second stroke because it was clear that he would not recover.
As tragic as Perry’s story might be, it offers some important lessons for estate planning. Perry reportedly drafted a will in 2015 after he had a colorectal cancer scare. His doctors found precancerous polyps in his colon, prompting him to complete his estate plan.
If Perry had not drafted an estate plan and an advanced directive, his family would likely have had to go through the court process to have his life support removed. Through his will, he reportedly left all of his $10 million estate to his children. He was engaged, but his fiancée is unlikely to inherit anything unless he had life insurance that named her as a beneficiary.
It is unclear whether Perry had an irrevocable living trust. If he did, then his family will not have to go through probate. What is clear from Perry’s story is that planning early is important; no one knows when the unexpected might happen. Even young people can benefit from creating a simple estate plan. This can allow their loved ones to make important decisions on their behalf in the event that they are incapacitated by a serious illness or an accident. People might want to meet with an experienced estate planning attorney to discuss their estates and what they would like to happen. An attorney may advise clients about the types of documents that they need to accomplish their goals.
Source: Forbes, “Luke Perry protected his family with estate planning,” Danielle and Andy Mayoras, March 8, 2019.