The Kobe Bryant Trust Plan: Investing in Family from Austin Estate Planning Lawyer Liz Nielsen

The Kobe Bryant Trust Plan by Austin estate planning lawyer
Leaving Behind a Legacy: The Loss of Kobe Bryant

On Sunday, January 26, 2020, the world was left mourning the unexpected deaths of Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, after they were announced to be among the 9 fatalities of a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.  Bryant is highly regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all-time.  He rose to fame as a high school phenom at Lower Merion High School, a public school located in the suburbs just outside of Philadelphia.

During his time at Lower Merion, he helped the Aces win the Pennsylvania state championship, became the Southeastern Pennsylvania all-time leading scorer, was awarded the Naismith High School Player of the Year and the Gatorade Men’s National Basketball Player of the Year, and was named a McDonald’s All-American.  Following high school, Bryant entered the 1996 NBA draft, where he was selected 13th overall by the Charlotte Hornets but was traded on draft night to the Los Angeles Lakers.  During his 20-year NBA career, he won 5 championships, 2 NBA Finals MVPs, the 2008 MVP, 18 NBA All-Star selections, 4 NBA All-Star MVP selections, 2 Olympic Gold medals, and was selected to 15 All-NBA Teams and 12 All-Defensive Teams. After his retirement from the NBA in 2016, Kobe wrote the book, The Mamba Mentality: How I Play, and won the Academy Award for Best Animated short Film for his film, Dear Basketball.

Kobe Bryant’s Trust Plan: Being a “Girl Dad” and Loving Husband After Passing Away

While Bryant built his legacy on his Hall of Fame career, his pride and joy was his family.  He was an All-Star father, a “girl dad,” and a family man.  In 2003, following the birth of his first child, Natalia, Kobe set up a trust to support his family.  As reported by Wealth Advisor, Bryant’s trust was last amended in 2017, shortly after the birth of his third daughter Bianka.  According to the 2017 amendment, Bryant’s wife Vanessa could take money out of the trust for the remainder of her lifetime, and any remaining money would be split between his three oldest daughters, Natalia, Gianna, and Bianka.

Before Bryant’s passing, he had not yet amended his trust to include his youngest daughter, Capri, who was born in 2019.  In California, Probate Code § 21620 provides the omitted child provision, which states that a child born or adopted after the last amendment to a trust is entitled to an equal share of the trust assets as his or her siblings.  The omitted child provision comes into effect if a trust’s grantor dies before they had the chance to reamend their trust.  The one requirement is that it must be proven that the grantor, Kobe, had intended to include his youngest daughter in their trust.  The Probate Court is likely to permit Vanessa’s amendment of the trust to include Capri.  Before his passing, Kobe had amended the trust several times, each being after Kobe and Vanessa’s daughter had been born.

Although the average person’s estate will not be as large or widely discussed as Kobe’s, everyone should be prepared to take care of their family after their passing.  Kobe was a family man, a proud father, and a loving husband, and even after his passing, he is still taking care of his wife and children.  Despite the fact that he had not yet amended his trust to include his youngest daughter, Capri, it can be calming for many parents with newborns to know that there are provisions in state codes in place to take care of your loved ones after your passing, even if you did not have the time to properly amend your will or trust plan.  Be like Kobe: love what you do, invest in your family’s future, strive for perfection, and always make your family your top priority.

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Nielsen Law PLLC provides family focused estate planning to individuals and families in Austin, Round Rock, Cedar Park, and the Central Texas area.  For more information and to learn about our firm, please contact us.