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