Estate Planning: Lessons Learned From “Breaking Bad” And Walter White

by Evan Guthrie Law Firm

Estate Planning: Lessons Learned From “Breaking Bad” And Walter White

The series finale of the television program “Breaking Bad” concluded with the lead character making a unique estate plan. Throughout the series, Walter White, the terminal cancer diagnosed high school chemistry teacher turned Methamphetamine empire kingpin had a goal of leaving his family enough of a financial legacy that they could live comfortable in his impending absence. 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 and estate plan to help him pass on his ill gotten gains 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. White observes that the Schwartzes, current heads of Gray Matter, make a multimillion dollar donation to drug treatment centers throughout the Southwest United States in an attempt that some observe as guilt response to White’s action as a drug lord. 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.

While this estate plan is illegal and unethical it most likely has a better chance of succeeding than White attempting to transfer the dirty money to his family in another fashion. By selecting third 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. The estate planning lawyer that drafts that trust will be put in a difficult ethical quandary of how to react.

Evan Guthrie Law Firm practices in the areas of estate planning probate personal injury and divorce and family law. For further information visit his website at . Evan Guthrie Law Firm 164 Market Street Suite 362 Charleston SC 29401 843-926-3813

For full article please visit Breaking Bad And Walter White: Estate Planning At Gunpoint at

LOADING PDF: If there are any problems, click here to download the file.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Evan Guthrie Law Firm | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Evan Guthrie Law Firm

Evan Guthrie Law Firm on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.


JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at:

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.