Live Your Life Without Financial Worry. Leave Your Estate Planning Matters to Sallen Law.

Learning from "Breaking Bad"

I have put off writing this post because I know many people DVR  the finale of "Breaking Bad" and haven't had a chance to watch it yet. For those who have yet to see the "Breaking Bad" finale STOP READING HERE.  

For everyone else, you know that the show ended with Walter White, the lead character making a unique estate plan. Throughout the series, the audience watched the once mild high school chemistry teacher Walter White deal with cancer. Mr. White turns to making Methamphetamines as a way of providing for his family once he is gone. To accomplish this goal he starts to manufacture and distribute his own brand of high purity meth under the alias “Heisenberg” with a cascading success that eventually leads to a spiraling downfall of consequences for him and his loved ones.

While a fugitive from justice in the final episode, he makes an estate plan to help him pass on his drug money to his family. The main obstacle to leaving the proceeds of his blue crystal empire to his children or wife is that any trace of the money earned by illegal activity including narcotic manufacturing and distribution and several murders is subject to seizure and forfeiture by federal authorities including the Drug Enforcement Agency. White is not one to be deterred from finding an ingenious solution to a difficult problem and demonstrates this throughout the series including a train robbery and erasing a hard drive with a giant magnet outside a police impound facility. Walter’s solution is to leverage the high net worth of his fellow co-founders of Gray Matter, a pharmaceutical company that White sold his share in during its early days for thousands and now is worth billions. (whoops!) White observes that the Schwartzes, current heads of Gray Matter, make a multimillion-dollar donation to drug treatment centers throughout the Southwest United States. White then confronts the Schwartzes at their home and asks them to set up an irrevocable trust, a trust that cannot be changed once executed, for the benefit of White’s son, Walter Jr. Walter White brings just under ten million dollars in cash to help fund the trust. White then makes the explicit instructions that Walter Jr. receive control of the trust when he turns eighteen and that any expenses including estate planning attorney fees and gift taxes associated with the transfer be paid from his cash only and none of the Schwartzes assets. To persuade the Schwartzes to comply with his planning requests, White claims to have hired two assassins to monitor them and make sure they follow through. You don't have to go to law school to know that this is illegal. Even despite it's illegality, this type of transfer has the best chance of meeting White's goal. By selecting 3rd parties with a high net worth to launder his cash through extortion and threat of death, the Schwartzes will most likely comply and draw less attention from federal authorities after already making a sizable donation to another cause that was semi Walter White related. 

Oh, the things we can learn from TV.