Quaids and Star Whackers Need a Refresher Course

November 3, 2010
300px RandyQuaidShot Quaids and Star Whackers Need a Refresher Course

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Attorney-extraordinaire Jason Miller, a regular reader of this blog, alerted me to this ongoing saga about Randy Quaid and his wife Evi. To summarize, the Quaids believe that they are being pursued by a Hollywood cult called the “Star Whackers”. During their “escape”, the Quaids trashed their former home, skipped out on some large hotel bills, and fled to Canada.  However, Mr. Miller also pointed out that buried in the middle of the article that Evi believed “an estate planner” as a likely suspect.

I must draw the line here.  Attacking estate planners?  That’s like attacking shepherds — there simply is very little fear of backlash.

Well how wrong the Quaids are!  All they have done is make an estate planner mad!  Perhaps the following sternly-worded, yet educational, open letter to the Quaids will prevent any more false accusations:

November 3, 2010

Mr. & Mrs. Quaid:

I am an estate planning attorney who has watched some of Randy’s work over the last 40 years. I thought his career started out great in films such as “The Last Picture Show”, “The Last Detail” and “Paper Moon”.

Unfortunately, I read Evi’s comment that your likely assassins are “an estate planner who would make a living trust and a county that could cash Randy’s royalty stream forever.” It doesn’t take a Duddy Kravitz to see that you have been greatly misinformed about how living trusts work.

The living trust instrument can perhaps be an imposing document full of legalese. You may even have become downright suspicious when your attorney told you to take all of your assets and retitle them in the name of your trust. You may have felt like Randy’s Jimmy Booth in Midnight Express when he said: “There ain’t nobody here is innocent!”

However, let me disavow some of your notions. A government can only receive your assets through intestacy (they “escheat” to the state if there are no surviving heirs) or if it were listed directly as a beneficiary in the living trust. Let’s work through both of these possibilities.

Escheat

In the first case, let’s say through some bizarre circumstance your trust failed, and all of your assets went into intestacy. In the following paragraph, “survivor” refers to whoever of you outlives the other.

Under California law, the state cannot get any of your assets after your deaths unless all of your potential heirs died before both of you.  This includes either of your descendants; either of your parents’ descendants; either of your grandparents’ descendants; either of your great-grandparents’ descendants, let alone any of your relations from prior marriages, half siblings, cousins twice removed, etc.

By the way, escheat law applies this way throughout the U.S. and Canada, so any escape north would most likely still leave you vulnerable to any Canadian Star Whackers.

Living Trusts are Revocable

If a county is somehow listed as the beneficiary in your trust, I have some good news for you. Another name for a living trust is a “revocable trust”. So here’s what to do: 1) Read your trust; 2) See if a county is a listed beneficiary; 3) Change or cancel the trust. In other words, revoke the revocable trust! Problem solved!

A Final Thought

Consider this. What’s more likely, a conspiracy amongst estate planners and the government or that you may have been receiving some bad advice through the years?

Before you answer, think about who suggested “The Slugger’s Wife”, “Caddyshack II”, “Christmas Vacation”, “Days of Thunder”, “Major League II”, “Vegas Vacation”, “The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle”, “The Adventures of Pluto Nash”, “Christmas Vacation 2”, and “Balls Out: Gary the Tennis Coach” for Randy. Wouldn’t a Star Whacker want to increase your net worth?

Anyway, I hope that you see that simply reading through and understanding your estate planning documents can save you a whole lot of hullabaloo.

Best wishes,

Scott R. Zucker, Esq.

RandyQuaid1 150x150 Quaids and Star Whackers Need a Refresher Course

 Quaids and Star Whackers Need a Refresher Course
 Quaids and Star Whackers Need a Refresher Course

Scott

Scott R. Zucker, Esq. is the owner of The Zucker Law Firm PLLC, located just outside the Capital Beltway in Annandale, within five miles of the City of Fairfax, the county seat of beautiful Fairfax County, Virginia. The firm focuses mainly on estate planning services for Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania clientele, and seeks to do so in an affordable and approachable way. People interested in learning more can contact Scott by phone or email.

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