Matthew Perry, the beloved Friends actor died last Saturday at 54. He leaves behind a legion of fans and a sizable estate. According to CNBC, a large part of the actor’s wealth comes from his iconic role, generating an income of $20 million annually through syndication and streaming revenue.
According to the outlet, when an actor dies, residual payments are considered their personal property. The residual cash flow stream is now likely owned by Perry’s estate. Based on California laws, where he lived, there are three possible ways in which Perry’s Friends’ residuals could be inherited.
The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists allows members to designate beneficiaries for residual payments in the event of their death. Similar to naming beneficiaries for accounts like 401(k) or individual retirement accounts, Perry could have specified individuals here.
Instead of choosing an individual, Perry could have opted for a trust as an alternative recipient for his residual payments. If this is the case, the residuals would flow into the trust, which would then have specific conditions regarding the beneficiaries. Unlike wills, which become public records during probate, trusts maintain privacy. This potentially safeguards the details of who inherits Perry’s Friends income from public disclosure.
However, there is a third possibility. Matthew Perry did not designate any beneficiary. In that case, the estate plan would be governed by state law to ensure its resolution.
The Party Most Likely to Inherit Matthew Perry’s Wealth
Perry, who never married or had children, is survived by his parents. They divorced when Perry was less than a year old and have since remarried. Perry also has five half-siblings. In California, his parents will likely inherit Perry’s royalties from his acting roles, as well as other aspects of his estate, including his 2022 memoir.
However, some experts believe it’s likely that some of Perry’s wealth will go to charity. Despite his public battle with addiction, the actor took a commendable step by establishing a sober living facility at his Malibu mansion. Additionally, he was dedicated to creating a foundation to address addiction issues. As a result, on November 3, the Matthew Perry Foundation was started as a donor-advised fund. This organization is sponsored and maintained by the National Philanthropic Trust.
“When I die, I know people will talk about ‘Friends,’ ‘Friends,’ ‘Friends,‘” Perry explained in a 2022 interview. “And I’m glad of that, happy I’ve done some solid work as an actor. … But when I die, as far as my so-called accomplishments go, it would be nice if ‘Friends’ were listed far behind the things I did to try to help other people. I know it won’t happen, but it would be nice.”
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