Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Monday, January 18, 2021

Mickey Mantle baseball card shatters record, sells for $5.2 million

MickeyA Mickey Mantle baseball card sold for $5.2 million, crushing a 5-month-old record for highest-selling sports card of all time. 

The card, a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle PSA 9—PSA is a grading system used for sports cards with a range from 1-10. The prior record was held by a one-of-one Mike Trout rookie card that sold for $3.94 million in August. Legend has it that there are only 6 PSA 9s of the Mantle card. 

Who purchased the card? Rob Gough, an actor who acquired the streetwear brand Dope in 2017. Gough stated, "The 1952 Topps Mantle is the holy grail of sports cards. As a kid ripping packs in the '90s, I always dreamt of owning one. . . I felt this Mantle was highly underpriced." 

Apparently, thousands of 1952 cards were dumped into the Hudson River in 1960 after overproduction. 

"Since August, Gough has amassed a 1916 Sporting News Babe Ruth rookie, a 1917 Collins-McCarthy Joe Jackson and several PSA 10 Michael Jordan rookie cards among others." 

The sale of the card is just one of many in the recent surge in big-money sports memorabilia—particularly rookie cards. 

See Dan Hajducky, Mickey Mantle baseball card shatters record, sells for $5.2 million, ESPN, January 14, 2021. 

Special thanks to David S. Luber (Florida Probate Attorney) for bringing this article to my attention.

January 18, 2021 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Maradona's unknown children in battle over his millions

MaradonaDiego Maradona, Argentinian footballer, died last month was known for his complicated love life. The rumor mill contends that he slept with 8,000 women. Maradona's estate could possibly be up to $40 million and includes a Rolls Royce and the rights to some very profitable merchandising contracts. 

However, Maradona's relatives are beginning to realize that there may be a number of people fighting for the inheritance. 

Prior to his death, Maradona's lawyers acknowledged that he was the father of five children (four in Argentina and one in Italy. All of the children have made a claim in the the Buenos Aires courts. 

Since Maradona did not leave a will, there have been at least six others who say they are his children and have attempted to claim a share of the inheritance. 

Others trying to get involved include, three ex-lovers, four sisters, fellow players, past managers and business partners, and more. 

Maradona's former lawyer, Mauricio Dalessandro stated, "Those who have claims must present their case because the court has DNA and is charged with verifying (the claims) of any children and seeking proof of their claims,” he added. “They must present themselves quickly."

Also, with many of Maradona's assets scattered across this world, the fight won't be easy and locating assets will only be half the problem. 

See Colin Freeman, Maradona's unknown children in battle over his millions, Yahoo News, December 12, 2020

Special thanks to David S. Luber (Florida Probate Attorney) for bringing this article to my attention.

December 12, 2020 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Intestate Succession, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 6, 2020

Sod Cemetery - Tallahassee, Florida

Sod cemeteryFlorida State University is known for its love of football and the tradition that it is rooted in. Like many other powerful college football teams, the fans of Florida State flaunt their team colors, tailgate on game day, scream the team chants at the top of their lungs, etc. However, there is one Florida State tradition that is a bit unusual: the Sod Cemetery. 

In preparation for a game against the University of Georgia in 1962, professor and athletic board member Dean Coyle Moore told the players to "bring back some sod from between the hedges at Georgia." 

"Team captain Gene McDowell took the statement literally: He pulled a handful of grass from the field after the 18-0 victory, and presented it to Moore at the next practice. Moore and FSU coach Bill Peterson buried the sod on the practice field. A monument was later put in place to commemorate the victory, and the tradition of the Sod Cemetery had begun." 

Now, when Florida State marks a win in a road game as the underdog, all games against their rival—the Florida Gators —and all ACC title and bowl games, the team captains are to collect a piece of the sod from the field. 

Moore wrote about the tradition and passed on instructions on how to remove the sod, the ceremonies that follow a proper burial (in tiny coffins), and how to place the "headstones." 

Visitors can take a look at the the cemetery, which is located outside the gates of the practice field at Doak Campbell Stadium. 

See Mom0ja, Sod Cemetery, Atlas Obscura, (last visited November 5, 2020). 

November 6, 2020 in Estate Planning - Generally, Games, Humor, Sports, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 7, 2020

New York woman’s obituary shares hate for Tom Brady

TbCarole Scarsella, from Lackawanna, N.Y., died on July 19. Carole's obituary looks like any other at first glance, however, if you read on you'll see that Carole's obituary is unique.

In the obituary, family members say Carole "smoked millions of cigarettes, "loved the New York Yankees and future NBA Hall of Famer Lebron James" and "HATED Tom Brady."

The family made sure that the word "hated" was in all capital letters, apparently in attempts to emphasize the hatred that Carole held for Tom Brady. It appears they proved their point, since the obituary has made news outlets across the country. 

Carole's hatred for Tom Brady is shared with many other citizens of Buffalo, where it is almost tradition to hate former New England Patriot's quarterback. 

It seems like Carole lived a great and eventful life and she will greatly be missed by her family and loved ones.

See Evan Anstey, New York woman’s obituary shares hate for Tom Brady, WIVB4 News, July 29, 2020.  

August 7, 2020 in Estate Planning - Generally, Humor, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Why College Coaches Are Being Paid With Split-Dollar Life Insurance

UnknownIn August 2016, the University of Michigan began what has now become a trend when they offered a split-dollar life insurance arrangement to head football coach Jim Harbaugh as an alternative to deferred compensation. Clemson, LSU have done the same for their football coaches and South Carolina the same for its women's basketball coach. 

The split-dollar life insurance program is were an employer agrees to loan dollars to an employee (generally over a period of seven years) that are invested in a cash accumulation life insurance policy. The difference between this and a traditional life insurance policy is that they pay the highest premium for the lowest amount of death benefit, which is the opposite of a traditional policy in which you pay the lowest premium for the highest benefit. 

This approach minimizes policy charges and allows the policy's cash value to grow exponentially as fast as possible. At some point, the loan from the employer will be repaid, but in the meantime policy cash value in excess of the loan balance can be accessed by the employee tax-free to supplement cash flow in retirement. This is similar to an employer funding a Roth IRA for the benefit of the employee, with a potential death benefit as an added bonus.

Ever thought of coaching Division 1 college football? I bet you are now!

See Jordan Smith, Why College Coaches Are Being Paid With Split-Dollar Life Insurance , Financial Advisor Magazine, May 28, 2020. 

Special thanks to Joel C. Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.

June 4, 2020 in Estate Planning - Generally, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Advising Pro Athletes With Their Seasons, Careers On Hold

2010s-BEST-SPORTS-4x3-1The cancellation of live sporting events has been a tough pill to swallow for those who have been stuck in their homes due to the pandemic. While many of us have been complaining about the lack of sports to distract us, we have failed to think about the pro athletes that have been put out of work. 

Over the past 10 years, sports telecasts have made up over half of the 199 most-watched primetime programs. NFL games alone accounted for 67 of these telecasts. 

With all of their assets and time on their hands, athletes are an attractive target for financial scammers. They too are able to see the market volatility and are possibly worried about the economy and may feel that their assets are threatened. The status of athletes and entertainers makes them an easy target for scammers to make new pitches and with the economy and future in limbo, it may be hard for them to say "no."

There are a few practices to keep in mind while advising clients that may find themselves in this situation. First, sometimes doing nothing is the best method of action. It sounds crazy, but sitting still and having self-control is can be the best method of staying in control. Second, run the numbers and rely on experienced due diligence. Any deals that make unrealistic assumptions about the pace of the economy should receive a high level of scrutiny. 

See Noel LaMontagne Advising Pro Athletes With Their Seasons, Careers On Hold, Financial Advisor, May 27, 2020. 

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.

May 28, 2020 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Rockford Peaches Pitcher Mary Pratt of 'A League of Their Own' Fame Dies at 101

MPMary Pratt, a south paw pitcher in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League and possibly the last living member of the original Rockford Peaches, passed away at the age of 101. The league, formed during World War II, was immortalized in the beloved film A League of Their Own.

Born November 30, 1918, Pratt graduated in 1936 from Boston University with a degree in physical education and started teaching. In 1943, she joined the inaugural season of the AAGPBL. She played five seasons in the league with Rockford and the Kenosha Comets. After her departure from the league, Pratt remained active in sports, officiating basketball, softball, field hockey and lacrosse games, and even served on the league's board of directors.

See Rockford Peaches Pitcher Mary Pratt of 'A League of Their Own' Fame Dies at 101, ESPN, May 9, 2020.

May 9, 2020 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Film, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Vanessa Bryant Files to Add Infant Daughter to Kobe's Trust

KobesuitKobe Bryant had set up a trust before his untimely death to provide for his widow, Vanessa, and their daughters, one of which perished alongside him in a helicopter crash in January. The trust was created in 2003 and amended several times, the last in 2017. The couple's most recent child, Capri, was born in 2019. Vanessa has filed to amend the problem, requesting that the infant daughter be added to the trust.

The trust agreement is reportedly set up to allow Vanessa and her daughters to draw from the principal and income during Vanessa’s lifetime, with the remainder going to the children upon Vanessa’s death. The widow is arguing that according to the trust document, Kobe's intent was to provide for all their children. The other two surviving children of the couple are Natalia, 16, and Bianka, 2.

Vanessa has also filed a lawsuit against the helicopter company that owned the vehicle in which her husband and daughter died and has demanded the deletion of reported graphic photos taken and distributed by deputies through her lawyer.

See Jack Baer, Report: Vanessa Bryant Files to Add Infant Daughter to Kobe's Trust, Yahoo Sports, March 19, 2020; see also Ralph R. Ortega, Kobe Bryant's Widow Seeks to Amend His Trust to Include Daughter Capri, Daily Mail, March 18, 2020.

Special thanks to Jim Hartnett, Jr. (Dallas, Texas Probate Attorney) and Joel C. Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing these articles to my attention.

March 21, 2020 in Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, New Cases, Sports, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, January 27, 2020

Kobe Bryant Leaves Behind a Business Empire that Stretched Beyond the Basketball Court

KobesuitThe sudden death of basketball star Kobe Bryant sent shockwaves not only through the realm of sports, but through the world. Bryant, 41, was killed yesterday when the helicopter he was on crashed near Calabasas, California, along with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven other individuals. But the man was more than a basketball player as he was showcasing his business mind with investments and other ventures.

In 2013, before he retired from the NBA, Bryant co-founded venture capital firm Bryant Stibel along with Web.com founder Jeff Stibel. The firm now has more than $2 billion in assets, with investments in dozens of technology, media and data companies, including Fortnite creator Epic Games, digital payment company Klarna and household products firm The Honest Company. Outside of Bryant Stibel, he had seen a return of millions of dollars with his investment in the sports drink Body Armor, which sold a stake to Coca Cola in 2018.

In 2016, Bryant founded Granity Studios, a media company that focuses on creative storytelling around sports. He wrote and narrated the short story Dear Basketball through the company, winning the Academy Award for best animated short film in 2018, and also released a series of books for young adults.

Bryant, along with LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, signed a deal with Nike in 2003 when Michael Jordan retired. Nike put out multiple lines of Kobe shoes and gear. In 2017, the company brought Bryant on stage with then-CEO Mark Parker at its annual investor meeting to celebrate the launch of Nike's new business strategy. Bryant then began to grow his own brand, "Black Mamba," which was his nickname on the court. In a partnership with Nike, Bryant launched the "Mamba League" in 2017, a youth basketball league that allows hundreds of kids free access to the sport. 

See Clare Duffy and Alexis Benveniste, Kobe Bryant Leaves Behind a Business Empire that Stretched Beyond the Basketball Court, CNN, January 26, 2020.

January 27, 2020 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Season Ticket Transfers and Estate Planning: Football [Michigan]

FootballWhen putting together a will, often times people diligently lay out a laundry list of specific requests that have immense sentimental value. The gifts could involve cars, jewelry passed down through the family, or pieces of art. But for those that share a special pastime of watching sports with a child or other beneficiary, the ability to pass on season tickets might be one of the most memorable and meaningful component of an estate plan. Depending on the sports program, this ability could be attainable.

  • Detroit Lions
    • Season tickets can be transferred with prior approval of the ticket office, but partial transfers or subdividing accounts are generally not approved.
  • Michigan Wolverines
    • Officially, only a surviving spouse can be transferred season tickets, but the office may be willing to work with other family members. Since 2015, tickets can be transferred while alive during the month of December, with a nonrefundable transfer fee. Parking and priority points (used for bowl and away games) are not transferrable.
  • Michigan State Spartans
    • During life or at death, season tickets can only be transferred to the ticket holder's spouse, unless the holder has acquired special permission.

For other states' professional and collegiate teams, be sure to inquire about their season ticket policies.

See Rebecca K. Wrock, Season Ticket Transfers and Estate Planning: Football, Varnum Law, November 11, 2019.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.

November 12, 2019 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Sports, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)