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Mile High Litigation

Pat Bowlen was the long time owner of the Denver Broncos. He died this past June of Alzheimer’s Disease. He created a trust in 2009 to hold and operate the Broncos.  In 2013, he stepped away from the team and turned control of it to the three trustees.

The trust provides that the trustees will pick one of his 7 children to operate the team. The trustees are reported to have selected his 29 year old daughter, Brittany. Meanwhile, his two daughters from his first marriage have filed suit challenging his competency to execute a trust in 2009 when he was allegedly exhibiting signs of Alzheimer’s in 2006. The trust has a no contest provision which would cause the eldest daughters to lose their entire share of the trust by contesting it.

Several points:

1. Bowlen could have been suffering from Alzheimer’s while still having the required capacity to sign a will and trust i.e. know his assets, his heirs, and what his planning accomplishes.

2. Call it a hunch, but if Bowlen was incapable of managing his affairs, the NFL would not have permitted him to run the Broncos until 2013.

3. It is hardly a news flash that a trust dispute pits children from a first marriage against children from the second marriage.

4. If Bowlen’s daughters wish to show their father was incompetent in 2009, they should point to the drafting of Tim Tebow in the first round by the Broncos.

Photo Credit:  Joe Amon for the Denver Post

License:  Fair Use/Education (from linked article)  

Pirate (and Scoundrel) By Any Other Name

There has been a dearth of newsworthy estate planning news recently, save the step-kids hate step-mom variety, so the Hugh Culverhouse Jr. and Alabama Law School imbroglio sent me down a rabbit hole which I am prone to.  For reference sake, Culverhouse, Jr. pledged $26 million last year to the University of Alabama Law School if they named it in his honor.  The law school returned the entire sum last week after Culverhouse, Jr. encouraged a boycott of the state of Alabama due to its recent anti-abortion legislation.  We are not here to discuss that.

Culverhouse, Jr. is the son of the first owner of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  He, his sister, and his mother were estranged from his father at the time of his father’s death in 1994.   Culverhouse, Sr. was notorious for operating his NFL team to maximize the profits while not caring how they fared on the field, which was usually abysmally.  Prior to his death, he told his wife that he was on the verge of bankruptcy and convinced her to sign a post-nuptial agreement which promised her $5 million, a $2 million condo, and her jewelry worth $2 million. After his death, the Bucs were sold for a then record $192 million while Culverhouse’s estate was estimated to be worth $340 million.   His widow filed multiple lawsuits regarding the post-nuptial agreement and the administration of his estate. She eventually settled for $34 million plus the right to control the donation of $10 million to various charities. 

Whew.  So much to unpack, but let’s be brief.

1.  Post-nuptial agreements are not valid in Ohio because Ohio prohibits spouses from contracting with each other.  Ohio’s position is a minority one

2.  Even with the settlement, Mrs. Culverhouse sold herself short settling for a fraction of her husband’s net worth.

3.  Sadly for Bengals fans, Mike Brown adopted the Culverhouse play book of ineptly running a football franchise but maximizing profit. 

 

Photo credit:  St. Petersburg Times

License:  Fair Use/Education

His Mom Will Not Be Happy

Donte Whitner, safety for the SF 49ers, has filed an application to change his last name to Hitner.  The hearing in Cuyahoga Probate Court is set for Nov. 19.   His application for the change says it will be commercially favorable to him in various business ventures (and presumably in terms of increased jersey sales).

Two quick points:

1.  In a bit of irony, the 49ers play the Washington Redskins, a team under siege for not changing its name, in his first game after the name change.

2.  Unless the white supremacist market is larger than I believe, I doubt there is huge demand for a jersey with a name that could easily be mistaken for “Hitler.”

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All Posts By Jay Brinker

I am an attorney located in Cincinnati, Ohio who practices in the areas of estate planning, probate, asset protection, and small business advice. I make a difficult and bewildering process as simple as possible. Most importantly, I provide "more for less" for my clients.