Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Monday, February 22, 2016

NFL Hopes Detroit Lions Not Next NFL Team To Have Succession Worries

WillsThe NFL is known for making sure franchise ownership is kept tightly controlled as evidenced in past years by forcing owners to turn over teams, as with Eddie DeBartolo, or banning the public from ownership in response to the Green Back Packers situation. Now a new worry is on the horizon as the Ford family, owners of the Detroit Lions, have had questions raised about the succession plan in place for the team following the death of longtime owner William Clay Ford. His son was expected to assume ownership but it instead shifted his 90 year old wife who now operates the franchise. Publicly, reassurance has been made that the Ford's will be financially capable of continued ownership but recent troubles with the multiple heirs of Titans owner Bud Adams has some worried. But the Ford family should avoid the problems of other teams since they are wealthy independent of the team's value which should allow them to avoid any tax induced sales.

See Michael David Smith, Lions say Ford family has a succession plan in place, NBC Sports, February 21, 2016.

Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.

February 22, 2016 in Estate Planning - Generally, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 18, 2016

Legendary Packers Lineman Selling off Memorabilia

ArticleOne thing that usually accompanies being a hardcore sports fan is a love of all things memorabilia ranging from the beloved team's t-shirt to the foul ball caught at a game. But for some, especially those with deep pockets, the memorabilia hunt is taken to an extreme with the focus of the chase being only those items of great significance. Well, those people are going to going to have a field day since Jerry Kramer, a legend for the Green Bay Packers, is auctioning off his game worn jersey and ring, among other items, from Super Bowl I through Heritage Auctions. The items are expected to bring in a significant sum of money, which Kramer plans to use for the education of his grandchildren, with one estimate showing the ring alone selling for above $100,000. However, the entire collection is not being sold with his Super Bowl II ring being retained since it holds a special place in Kramer's heart to this day. On another note, it is refreshing to see memorabilia such as this being sold by choice rather than it being a forced sale to escape bankruptcy as so many retired athletes have been forced to do in the past.

See, Packers great Kramer auctioning off Super Bowl I ring, jersey, Fox Sports, January 16, 2016.

January 18, 2016 in Current Events, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

NFL Players And Estate Planning

MoneyProfessional athletes often face unique estate planning issues that are caused by their short careers and inexperience with handling wealth. The NFL and the NFL Players Association have recently teamed up to develop a comprehensive wellness program that will be called “The Trust.” This program is intended to help retired NFL football players transition both emotionally and financially into a life without football. Each player enrollee will be assigned a case manager who will help each player identify key issues that they need to work on. There are many retired NFL players that will need to develop their skills for a life after professional sports. Many of them will need to learn important money management skills so that they do not lose the wealth that they have earned.

See What can I Learn from NFL Players about Financial and Estate Planning?, The Law Offices of Kyle E. Krull, December 1, 2015.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse for bringing this article to my attention.

December 2, 2015 in Estate Planning - Generally, Sports, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Estate Planning Advice For Professional Athletes

Professional athleteOne crucial requirement when engaging in estate planning for professional athletes is mutual respect. Successfully advising a professional athletes is different from advising a regular client. Oftentimes professional athletes might be surrounded by “yes men” who will give them bad advice. Sometimes a professional athlete might have little to no experience with handling large sums of wealth which can make them vulnerable to making poor financial decisions. An adviser should be aware of these issues that professional athletes might face and should be mindful of an athletes individual circumstances. Not every athlete will react the same way with money so it will be necessary for advisers to craft an individual estate plan that is unique to that athlete’s circumstances.

See David H. Lenok, How to Advise Professional Athletes, Wealth Management, November 18, 2015.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse for bringing this article to my attention.

November 19, 2015 in Estate Planning - Generally, Sports, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Ongoing Issues Surrounding Jim Thorpe’s Remains

Jim thorpeI have previously discussed the ongoing legal disputes surrounding the body of legendary sports legend Jim Thorpe.  Back in October the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal brought by the athlete’s sons who wanted their fathers remains to be moved from Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, over to sacred tribal burial grounds in Oklahoma.  At issue was a Federal law called the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA).  The statute requires museums that have Native American remains to go through a proceeding that would determine if those remains are to be returned to the family or tribe of the decedent.  This extensive illustrative article discusses NAGPRA in detail and how it applied to the Jim Thorpe case.  In the end the courts had determined that NAGPRA did not apply to Jim Thorpe’s remains.

See Rachel Proctor May, Thorpe’s Body, Life Of The Law, October 20, 2015.

October 21, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Hall Of Fame Baseball Player Brooks Robinson Will Sell Personal Collection Through Heritage Auctions

Brooks robinsonBaseball Hall of Fame player Brooks Robinson, who is considered to be the greatest third-baseman to ever play, is going to sell his personal collection through Heritage Auctions.  The online only auction will be held on November 5-7, 2015, and all proceeds from the auction will go to The Constance & Brooks Robinson Charitable Foundation.  Chris Ivy, Director of Sports Auctions at Heritage considers this to be one of "most significant player collections" the auction house ever put on sale.  Brooks Robinson had a storied career for the Baltimore Orioles that lasted for 23 years.  This column lists many of the collectors items that will be sold along with the estimated value of each item.  

See Hall of Fame third baseman Brooks Robinson to sell his personal collection through Heritage Auctions, Art Daily, October 7, 2015. 


October 7, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Frank Gifford’s Will Leaves Widow Kathie Lee Gifford Majority Of Estate

GiffordThe majority of NFL legend Frank Gifford’s estate is being left to his widow and Today Show host Kathie Lee Gifford.  According to court papers that were filed in the State of Connecticut Gifford’s estate is estimated to be worth $10 million.  Kathie Lee Gifford was named executor of the estate that she and her two children will receive the majority of.  The late NFL star also left $500,000 to each of his two children from a previous marriage.  A $1 million trust fund was also set up for a third child that Frank Gifford had from a previous marriage that was badly injured in a car accident.  Kathie Lee Gifford continues to live in the couples Connecticut estate with her children. 

See NFL legend Frank Gifford leaves majority of his $10M estate to widow Kathie Lee and their two children and NOT his family from first marriage, The Daily Mail, September 23, 2015.

September 23, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Sports, Television, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Ernie Banks Estate Lacking Large Assets

Ernie BanksAs I have previously discussed, Regina Rice, caregiver of the late Ernie Banks, was court ordered to produce an accounting of Banks' estate as part of the ongoing probate battle with Banks' estranged wife. The accounting provided prior to a hearing on Wednesday showed that his estate is made up of mostly memorabilia and lacks assets of large value. Missing from the list were any large bank accounts, insurance policies, or real estate. The list included items located in his rented condo, and boxes of personal items and memorabilia kept in storage.

See The Canadian Press, Banks' Estate Full Of Memorabilia; Little Money, TSN, Apr. 29, 2015.

Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.

May 2, 2015 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, March 30, 2015

Dean Smith Gift to Former Players Described as Typical of His Coaching Style

Dean SmithAs I have previously discussed, roughly 180 former University of North Carolina basketball players will soon receive a $200 check from a trust created by their former coach, Dean Smith, with instructions to enjoy dinner on him. One of the former UNC players to receive a check is six-time NBA champion Michael Jordan, who described Smith as one of the largest influences in his life. Another player included as a recipient, Eric Montross, described Smith's inclusion of these gifts in his estate planning as a typical action of his former coach who was often making a point to teach his team lessons. Montross describes this lesson as one of friendship.

See Eben Novy-Williams & Rob Gloster, Dean Smith Dinner Bequest Is One of His ‘Lessons’ to Team, Bloomberg, March 26, 2015.

Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.

March 30, 2015 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Sports, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Article on Estate Planning for the International Professional Athlete

Evan JohnstonEvan Johnston (J.D. Candidate, Texas Tech University School of Law, May 2015) recently published an article entitled, Adapting to the Changing Face of American Sports: Estate Planning for the International Professional Athlete, 7 Est. Plan. & Community Prop. L.J. 339 (Fall 2014). Provided below is an excerpt from the article:

In modern times, the face of major American professional sports has changed dramatically from a national to a global enterprise. Consequently, issues facing an estate planner dealing with athletes has globalized as well. The use of real life hypothetical situations best explains the practical steps an attorney must take in order to best serve their international professional athlete client. For explanatory purposes, it is illustrative to consider two situations:

The first case is that of Shawn Bowman. Shawn is a nineteen year old ice hockey player from the farm town Lumsden, Saskatchewan, Canada, just outside of the City of Regina. Regina is one of the top producing cities of National Hockey League (NHL) players in the country. Shawn married his high school sweetheart, Jenny, and the following summer, the New York Rangers drafted him first overall in the NHL Draft. In concert with other first overall picks from previous years, Shawn signed a contract that promised to pay him a total salary of $3.75 million in his first year alone. Shawn moved to Manhattan to start his new career, purchased a nice apartment, and plans to continue to financially support his parents and their family farm back in Saskatchewan.

The second case is Nelson Smith, a dynamic twenty-five year old soccer star from Manchester, England . . . .

The purpose of this comment is to inform practitioners of the unique legal issues they may face if someone like Shawn or Nelson walks into their office. Both are noncitizens who will obtain a vast amount of money in a very short period of time, making their estate planning concerns both complex and delicate. When creating a holistic plan for an athlete, an estate planning practitioner should follow a step-by-step approach with special consideration towards the areas of: residency, tax calculation, asset beneficiary designation, life and disability insurance, and athlete image and endorsement issues.

March 15, 2015 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)