Estate Planning Lessons We Can Learn from Luke Perry

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March 14, 2019
Meredith Murphy
SmithAmundsen Estate Planning Alert

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Over the last week, you may have noticed an uptick in reruns of Beverly Hills 90210 in honor of the late Luke Perry, who played bad boy Dylan McKay on the show. I myself grew up watching 90210, and was shocked and saddened by his death. I was also stunned, because Luke Perry was a young man (in my mind)!  Luke Perry died of a stroke at the young age of 52. In reading about his illness and death, there was mention of how Luke Perry had an estate plan in place.  He reportedly created a will after finding precancerous growths following a colonoscopy in 2015.

It is likely that his estate plan contained a health care power of attorney and a will/trust since his family was able to make the decision to take him off life support. It is because of a health care durable power of attorney or advance directive that his family would have known exactly what his wishes were regarding being in a coma or persistent vegetative state, and probably what his wishes were regarding organ donation and burial/cremation. In addition, because he had a will/trust, his children will know that their father’s affairs are in order, and that administration of his estate should be relatively quick and painless. A real and genuine advantage of having a will and trust in place is that you are forced to look at your assets, make a list of those assets, and keep them with your estate planning paperwork.

My takeaways from this are that you are never too young to put together an estate plan.  If tragedy can strike a 52 year old man with a 21 and 18 year old, then it can really happen to anyone. Having a plan in place can ease both your mind and help your family during a tragic event.