Florida fans of actor Luke Perry, who died suddenly of a stroke at the age of 52, might wonder whether he had an estate plan in place to protect his family. The fact that Perry’s family made the decision to take him off life support after it became clear that he would not recover suggests that he had made arrangements using a power of attorney or health care directive to appoint someone to make medical decisions on his behalf. Without these, a family might have to get a court order to allow a loved one to be removed from life support, particularly if they disagree.

In 2015, after Perry had a colonoscopy that led to the discovery of precancerous growths, he became an advocate for colorectal screenings. Reports are that he made a will that same year that left his assets to his children. However, Perry might have created a trust in addition to the will. A trust allows for more privacy and for assets to be transferred directly to beneficiaries instead of going through probate.

It is unclear whether Perry made arrangements for any assets to pass to his fiancee. His sudden death demonstrates the important of having an up-to-date estate plan at any age.

The types of estate planning documents that are needed depend on the person’s particular situation. For example, a young person might need documents that appoint someone to make health care decisions and take over finances in the event of incapacity. A simple will may be sufficient for distributing any assets. A person who is employed may have a retirement account through work that is passed by beneficiary designation. People with more complex estates may need additional documents.

Source: Forbes, “Luke Perry Protected His Family With Estate Planning“, Danielle and Andy Mayoras , March 8, 2019