In case you were unaware, 90s teen heartthrob, Luke Perry passed away this month at the young age of 52. While the tragedy of losing a loved one, a friend, or a television idol cannot be overstated, Luke Perry showed the importance of addressing your estate plan early and often. In addition, Luke’s case shows exactly why you need an estate plan as soon as possible.
At the young age of 52, Luke Perry suffered a stroke and was allowed to die only one week later. When people think of estate planning, myself included, we think that I am [insert age here] years old, and I won’t need an estate plan until I am 70, 80, or 90. The unfortunate thing about estate planning is that you have all the time in the world to create a plan until you don’t. Nobody thought Justin Carter would die at age 35, Mike Thalassitis at age 26, Jim Raman at age 42, or Luke Perry at age 52.
So what did Luke Perry do with his Estate Plan that made things so much easier? First, reports indicate Luke Perry’s family was around him when his life support was removed. This tells us, while not public record, that Luke Perry had a document called a health-care directive or advance directive. This document, among other things, allows your voice to be heard concerning your end of life decisions when you are no longer able to otherwise communicate your wishes. Notably, a health-care directive or advance directive allows you to make decisions regarding life-prolonging treatment (AKA “life support”). Without this document, it is common for families to seek court intervention to make end-of-life medical decisions for someone who can longer express their wishes. This document can avoid the time, expense, and stress of seeking the court’s assistance.
Next, reports indicate Luke Perry at least had a will. A will is essentially your instruction sheet to the world explaining how your assets, debts, and children are to be taken care of after your death. In Luke’s case, in his will, he directed all of his property to go to his children. Additionally, had both of his children been minors upon his death, Luke’s will would have also addressed who would be the children’s guardians. Now, it appears likely Luke Perry may have also had a trust due to his multifaceted incomes, but the point here is that you can always get more sophisticated with your estate plan, but you at least need to start with a will. In short, a will allows you to make decisions concerning your children and your property. Without a will, the state court will decide for you.
If you do not want to leave your family and friends with any unresolved questions concerning your healthcare, property, or children, you need to get an estate plan.
If you have questions regarding the topic of this article, or for assistance with estate planning, guardianships, or probates, please call the Estate Planning Team at 701-297-2890 or email us via the contact form below.
The information contained in this article and on this website is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to your particular set of circumstances.