BlogRead the Latest News

 

Not About the Sport Coats

Craig Sager was a beloved basketball reporter who died last year from cancer. He was known for his colorful sport coats and bantering with Gregg Popovich, coach of the Spurs. He was divorced and re-married at the time of his death with children from both wives. His will is being probated in Georgia. It reportedly left everything to his second wife, Stacy.

His son from his first marriage tweeted yesterday that he was being summoned to court by a sheriff to prevent him from contesting the will even though he was not interested in contesting in the first place. His sister, Kacy, defended her brother while also flaming her step-mother and tweeted a list of grievances. Seeing a moment in the sun, the former girlfriend of the son felt compelled to jump into the fray and call the step-mother a POS in typical coarse social media parlance.

Several points:

1. Georgia is similar to Ohio in that when a will is admitted to probate all of the heirs at law (spouse and children) plus all of the will beneficiaries are required to receive notice of the probate proceedings via certified mail.

2. The son from the first marriage and his sisters were simply receiving the legally required notice.

3. Given the lapse between the date of death of Sager’s death and the date of this process, it is likely that most of his assets were in a trust and that a small account was titled only in his name and hence subject to the probate process.

4. Sager might have excluded his children from his first marriage due to their hostility to his second wife and/or their over-reaction to legal events.

5. Hostility to second wives can be avoided if they are age appropriate and their names do not rhyme with that of one’s daughters.

Who Wants to Make (or Receive) This Phone Call?

From today’s Dear Prudence column on Slate:

Q. Death Around the Holidays: A man I work with and with whom I’ve had an affair the last two months died suddenly over the weekend. I am pregnant with his child. He didn’t know. His current wife, now widow, doesn’t either. How do I broach this subject? His estate is rather large.

A: I’d say I’m sorry for your loss, but since apparently you aren’t, I won’t bother. For your financial interests, contact a lawyer specializing in family law. I don’t have any advice on where you go to get help for your lack of morals—or heart.

Several points:

1.  If the man left all of his assets to his wife, I do not think that there will be much available for the child other than Social Security because the widow is not obligated to leave assets to the child.

2.  If the man did not have a will, in Ohio the child would essentially share in 2/3 of the probate assets with the other children.

3.  If  the man left assets in a trust for his wife and children, which ultimately are to be distributed to his children, the child from the affair will likely inherit the same share as his other children because children are usually defined generically in wills and trusts not as “children from my relationship with my wife.”

4.  I doubt Ann Landers and Dear Abby would have answered as tersely as Prudie did.

5.  Giving the woman the benefit of the doubt, which Prudie did not, the writer might have adapted her writing style to the 21st century blog post/Internet style and left out all perceived unnecessary adjectives (and emotion).  Or, she could be a Hemingway fan.

Contact Me

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.