Did Kobe Disinherit His Baby?

Not likely according his widow’s recent petition filed in a Los Angeles County Probate Court.

What Happened?

Kobe Bryant created a trust in April 2003, shortly after the birth of his oldest daughter Natalia, 17. It was amended several times throughout the years. He amended it following the birth of his daughter Gianna, 13. He amended it in 2017 after the birth of his daughter Bianki, 3. Unfortunately, he did not amend it after his daughter Capri was born in 2019. Therefore, Capri is not included in the trust.

The Argument

Kobe’s widow Vanessa Bryant filed a petition to modify the trust. She argues Kobe would have wanted all his children’s names listed on the trust documents. She claims that Kobe simply did not have a chance to add their baby Capri before he died. He died in an unsuspecting helicopter crash with his daughter Gianna on January 26, 2020.

Current Status

As it currently stands, the trust will be divided between Natalia and Bianki when Vanessa passes away. It will not include his baby Capri. During Vanessa’s lifetime, Vanessa, Natalia and Bianki are entitled to receive money from the trust. The money is to be used for their reasonable support. Again, Capri is not included. Kobe named Vanessa and his agent as co-trustees. Their role is to manage the money in the trust and make discretionary payments to the beneficiaries of the trust.

Forgotten Children

Vanessa is seeking to rectify the oversight by Kobe. She is asking the court to modify the trust language to add Capri, so she can inherit like her sisters. Did Kobe disinherit his baby? There does not seem to be evidence that was his intent. However, the unfortunate oversight does create issues for the family to clean up.

Kobe is not the only person who did not update his trust or will after the birth of a child. It happens often enough to have a name.

Under Texas law, when a child is born after a will is executed, then the child is referred to as a pretermitted child, or “forgotten child.” However, if there have been any amendments to documents after the birth of the child and the child is not mentioned, then it can create an argument that the child was intentionally left out of the will or trust.

Conclusion

It is important to update your estate planning documents when you have a major event in your life, such as a birth of a child, marriage or death. A properly drafted trust is a tool that can be used to avoid probate. It can also grant the beneficiaries almost immediate access to the property. But, it should always reflect your current intentions.

Contact Information

If you would like to discuss your estate planning needs, contact me at hspires@TexasWillsLawyer.com or 210-874-5700. You can also fill out a contact form on www.TexasWillsLawyer.com.

About Hugh

Hugh Spires, Jr.'s Profile Image
Hugh has been practicing law since 1995. He served 20 years in the Air Force JAG Corps as an attorney, where he provided estate planning for military members, retirees and their dependents. He understands the inconvenience and burden of traveling to an attorney’s office, yet he appreciates the importance of obtaining legal services when you need it.

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