Washington fans of actress Carrie Fisher may be surprised to learn she was diligent about her estate plans. There have been multiple media reports of other well-known celebrities who have failed to take such steps prior to their deaths. According to probate court papers filed by Fisher's estate executor, her assets are valued at just under $7 million. The executor is seeking a final distribution of her assets.
In the document regarding Fisher's estate, the executor states all administration-related expenses have been paid to date. He also states he has performed his duties as stipulated by Fisher's estate documents. The will the actress had, which was created in early 2016, will become part of a trust she established, officially known as the Carrie Fisher Living Trust. The executor will also serve as the trustee. The beneficiary of Fisher's trust is her daughter, who also has a career in acting.
Fisher's will gives the executor authorization to pay estate-related taxes. The executor also has the discretion to make decisions about the preliminary and final allocation of the estate's property. Fisher's assets come from sources that include bank and investment accounts, memorabilia, publicity rights related to her work and collectibles. The executor is also seeking $10,000 from the estate to cover possible expenses and contingencies. Fisher, best known for her role as Princess Leia in the "Star Wars" movies, died at the age of 60 in December 2016. A hearing regarding the executor's petition has been scheduled.
It's not unusual for a probate and estate lawyer to be named a will's executor or be designated as a trustee. This is sometimes preferable if an estate has substantial assets that need to be distributed fairly and in accordance with a client's wishes. It's more likely that estate plans, no matter how basic or complex they are, will be executed as expected if estate-related documents are periodically reviewed and updated.