We’ve set it on this blog before, but it is worth saying again. There is a lot at stake in estate planning.
An estate plan can completely reshape the lives of heirs and beneficiaries for the better, or it can make significant contributions to charitable organizations and society as a whole. It can even mean the difference in a pet’s life when an individual utilizes a pet trust.
However, sometimes those who believe they are next in line to inherit certain assets may feel cheated when a will or trust reveals the testator’s other intentions.
This appears to be the case for two daughters of the late owner of the Denver Broncos, Pat Bowlen. According to reports, Bowlen’s two oldest daughters are challenging the validity of their father’s trust, which is tasked with choosing the next owner of the football organization, no small thing given the team’s value of $2.5 billion. The daughters allege that their father was subjected to undue influence at the time he effectuated his estate plan, and that he lacked the mental capacity to fully understand the decisions he was making at the time.
The move comes with a lot of risk. The estate contained a no-contest clause, which means that the daughters may lose out on inheriting anything if they are unsuccessful in their challenge. Some think that the daughters claim is without merit and that they are only groveling over the fact that another sibling was chosen to take on the team in an ownership capacity. Hopefully, the truth will come out when the matter heads to court.
With so much on the line, those engaging in estate planning need to make sure that their intentions are clear and that their loved ones understand their wishes for the future of their estate. These conversations can be difficult to have, but an open and honest dialogue can go a long way. When it comes to ensuring that the terms of a will or trust are clear, justifiable, and in furtherance of one’s wishes, it is often wise to work closely with an estate planning attorney who is adept and crafting these legal vehicles.