America was recently shocked when beloved basketball star and father, Kobe Bryant, was killed in a fiery helicopter crash. Bryant was not alone in this horrific accident. His own daughter, and seven others, were a part of this terrible event.
Very little is known about his estate plan at this time. As an estate planning law firm, however, we cannot help but question what the future holds for his family and loved ones, his business, and his legacy. With minor children in the mix, a spouse to support, and a thriving business, even more questions can be expected to arise.
We would hope, at the very least, he had an estate plan that contemplated four critical planning areas that every American needs to focus on. The truth is that a crisis can happen to any of us at any time. Let us share these key planning areas with you right now on our blog.
1. Planning for your spouse. Kobe Bryant left behind a wife, Vanessa, who will now need to care for their three surviving children. This is unimaginably difficult for any spouse to survive, and a strong estate plan would be able to help guide her through it. She needs to know that she has the resources to care for their minor children now and well into the future. In addition to her own needs, their children may need help paying for college as well as helping to support them with any future challenges they might face.
2. Planning for your minor children. Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, were two of nine people killed in the helicopter crash. He left behind, however, three additional children. While his wife is still alive to care for their children, this is not always the case when a parent dies. Each of us needs to plan forward for a time when we, as parents, may be unable to care for our minor children. This means choosing decision makers who could act for us and provide for our children if we were suddenly no longer here.
3. Planning for yourself. Kobe Bryant passed away in the helicopter accident, but what if he had not? An accident like that, and any accident, could leave the victim severely disabled. This could result in a mental or physical disability, or both. Did he have advance directives or trust-based planning that would say who should make his health care or financial decisions in a crisis? Did he have a plan for who would be his primary or secondary decision maker in the event he was incapacitated? Right now, these are questions we do not have the answers to but are planning points each of us needs to address in our estate plan.
4. Planning for your legacy. When one parent dies, there is no question the results are traumatic for the entire family. It is important to discuss with your estate planning attorney, in advance, about what would happen if one of the spouses were to pass away before the other. This should include a discussion of what you want should this happen at a relatively young age. How will your legacy be handled? How will your business be managed? Should your spouse wish to remarry, how will your children be protected in the event of changes that could impact their inheritance, your legacy, and your estate planning goals?
None of us want to contemplate a time when we will not be here. We also do not want to think about a time, as parents and spouses, when we will not be able to care for the other members of our family. The key, however, is to not wait to be proactive. If this tragedy teaches us anything, it is to be more prepared rather than less. Do you have questions right now? We encourage you not to wait to talk to a member of our experienced legal team and schedule a meeting in our office to get the answers you need today.