Matthew Perry reportedly got $20 million a year in ‘Friends’ residuals. Here’s who may get them now!

Matthew Perry, the beloved actor best known for his role as sarcastic, wise-cracking Chandler Bing on the sitcom “Friends,” died Saturday at age 54.

He left behind a legion of fans and a sizable estate.

A significant portion of the actor’s wealth came from his most iconic role. That income reportedly amounts to $20 million a year, from syndication and streaming revenue.

A spokesperson for Warner Bros., which owns the show’s distribution rights, declined to verify or comment on the residual payments. CNBC was unable to reach Perry’s representatives for comment.

What may happen to Perry’s ‘Friends’ residuals
When an actor passes away, residual payments are considered the actor’s personal property. Now, this residual cash flow stream is presumably owned by his estate.

There could be three possibilities for the inheritance of Perry’s “Friends” residuals based on laws in California, where he resided, said Charlie Douglas, a certified financial planner and president of HH Legacy Investments in Atlanta.

The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists has contracts in which its members can list beneficiaries for residual payments upon death. As one option, Perry could have named an individual or individuals here. It’s a similar exercise to naming a beneficiary for common types of accounts such as 401(k) or individual retirement accounts.
As a second option, Perry may have named a trust — and not an individual — as the beneficiary of his residual payments, Douglas said. The residuals would flow to the trust and the trust would, in turn, have stipulations as to who received them.

Unlike wills, which are a matter of public record in probate, trusts are private, in which case the public may never know who inherits Perry’s “Friends” income.

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