This blog was written by Justin Ecclestone, Associate Estate and Trust Consultant with Scotia Wealth Management
Coy Luther Perry “Luke Perry” died on March 4, 2019 at the age of 52. Luke Perry was a renowned Hollywood actor, widely known for his roles in Beverly Hills 90210, The Fifth Element, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and more recently, his role in Netflix TV Series, Riverdale. Luke Perry suffered a very serious stroke and was hospitalized. After five days on life support, his family made the difficult decision to remove the life assistance.
As a resident of California, Luke Perry had proper documentation in place for his family to be given the power to make such decision. It has been reported that Luke had his will updated and presumably his advanced care directive in 2015, after precancerous growths were discovered following a colonoscopy. After his diagnosis, Luke became a strong advocate for others to have testing done at an early age. His test results are likely why he chose to update his estate planning in the same time frame. When Luke passed away, he left behind his two children, fiancée, ex-wife as well as his mother and fellow siblings. It is presumed that Luke left his estate to his two children equally.
What if Luke and his Fiancée were married prior to his death?
In California, the remaining spouse has rights referred to as a “pretermitted spouse.” A pretermitted spouse is a spouse who has been omitted from a will. This term refers to a spouse who likely stands to inherit under a will, but was not named in the will as he/she was not married to the deceased at the time the will was written. Had Luke and fiancée, Bauer, been married prior to his death, Bauer would have been entitled to such rights, assuming the 2015 will was the most recent. In California, Bauer would have been entitled to one third of Luke’s estate, assuming no prenuptial agreement and other factors.
Who Gets What?
Luke’s estate is believed to have been worth close to $10,000,000. It is believed that Luke created a revocable living trust to pass his assets to his children without court intervention. The trust provides great benefit for people like Luke for its privacy features. Anthony Bourdain comes to mind as someone who took advantage of this benefit when he passed in 2018 and left an alleged trust to his daughter.
Estate Planning is not an easy topic for many of us to consider. Luke Perry’s story should be retold to people hesitating with the idea of “what happens after I die?”