When I heard about the tragic death of Kobe Bryant and 8 others who died in the helicopter crash on January 26, 2020, one of my first thoughts was “Did he have a will?”
At the time of his death, he was married and had 4 children. Tragically, one of his children perished with him in that horrible crash. In addition to his family, he had a lot of assets to protect. It has been reported that he was one of the wealthiest athletes. But he was only 41 years old and may not have expected to die so young.
Now that his wife and three surviving children are left behind, how will they manage from a financial perspective? Will it be a complex mess to figure out who owns what property and rights? How do they access the money or exercise their rights? Did he make it easier for them by having a will?
Kobe had a net worth of about $600 million dollars and no doubt had hired numerous lawyers throughout his career for various reasons. However, did he think about asking them for estate planning advice or to draft a will to protect his family? Or, did he simply run out of time?
I was glad to read reports that Kobe did, in fact, have a last will and testament. In the coming weeks we should read reports as to whether his will has been filed for probate or whether other legal action has been taken to control his estate. He may have placed his property into an intervivos trust, also called a living trust, or even a pour over trust. If he used a trust, then there will likely not be many details in the will. The details would be in the trust documents which are not filed as a public record.
When a person dies in an accident, there is often a lawsuit filed by the “estate.” If the person has a will, then the person will most likely be the executor named in the will. If there is no will, then the court will appoint someone to represent the estate. The person named as representative can file legal action against the helicopter company or whoever may be responsible for the crash that caused his and his daughter's deaths.
It may sound cliché, but no one is promised tomorrow. Sometimes it takes tragedy to remind us of this. If you have questions about your estate plan or would like to make a will, contact me at 210-874-5700 or hspires@TexasWillsLawyer.com for a free consultation. You can also complete a contact form on www.TexasWillsLawyer.com.