Back before Covid-19 was dominating the media coverage, the world was rocked when sports icon Kobe Bryant and his daughter were killed in a helicopter crash. He was survived by his wife and three daughters.
However, Kobe made a mistake with his Estate Plan that is currently being played out in court – he did not UPDATE his documents.
A recent article on Yahoo Sports reads Vanessa Bryant files to add infant daughter to Kobe’s Trust. Since Trusts are private documents, we do not know the actual contents of the document. What we do know is that Kobe last updated his Trust in 2017. He recently had a daughter in 2019, and she was never added to the trust document.
A standard revocable trust can always be updated during the life of the grantor (the one who makes the Trust). One of the main benefits of creating a trust is that your heirs can avoid probate and avoid judges. However, after the grantor passes away, the Trust then becomes irrevocable, and any changes need to be approved by a judge.
In this case, had Kobe added his new daughter to the Trust when she was born, his wife would have had immediate access to the trust funds for the benefit of the daughter. Instead, not only does she have to deal with the loss of her husband, but she has to start up a court proceeding also.
Now, I do not think this is going to be a difficult case for her. However, I have worked on many cases where the failure to update documents radically changed what beneficiaries thought was going to happen.
This is one reason that all of our Estate Planning clients get free annual reviews of their plan. It is always important to keep on top of changing laws and changing family situations to make sure your documents reflect your current wishes.
If you think your Estate Plan needs a Complimentary Review, you can book your Strategy Session HERE.