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WHY IS KOBE BRYANT’S WIDOW IN THE PROBATE COURT?

Kobe Bryant was a world renowned sports star with an estimated estate of about $600 million. The sports world was shocked by his premature death.

Kobe had set up an estate plan to protect and preserve his assets for his wife and children. However, at the birth of his youngest daughter Capri, he overlooked updating his documents. Normally establishing a trust avoids the probate court, however because he did not have a provision providing for afterborn children, his estate is forced to seek a costly Petition to Modify Trust terms. This will allow his youngest daughter to be treated equally along with her 2 surviving sisters. If not modified, his youngest daughter would be disinherited.

This is a cautionary tale. The lesson learned from Kobe’s tragic death is over 70% of estate plans don’t work because clients forgo updating their estate plans at life’s major events. Your estate plan needs to be reviewed periodically to make sure your documents reflect the changes in your life. Further, your estate plan should have a provision that automatically allows for later-born children to be treated the same as the children named in your documents. “If” Kobe had this provision in his estate plan, his widow would not be required to go to court to include Capri.

W. Bailey Smith is an attorney who has been certified by the state bar as an estate planning specialist. There are over 15,000 attorneys in Orange County less than ½ of 1% have been certified as a specialist by the state bar. Bailey has been practicing this area of law for 48 years and has created over 7,000 estate plans. Update your estate plan today by calling Bailey at (949) 833-8891.

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