Steve McNair's Colossal Fumble
Planning for Success: Steve McNair’s Colossal Fumble
Estate Planning is commonly believed to only benefit wealthy and older individuals, when in fact all stages of life can utilize certain aspects and strategies of estate planning. One could infer that estate planning is of greater significance for younger adults than it is for older ones. This is due to younger adults often having dependent children that will require care for the foreseeable future. If you are a parent of a minor child, how would the unexpected disappearance of you or your spouse impact your family? Are your assets appropriately titled to avoid freezing your estate and probate? While estate planning is often thought to be a scary process, it is not something to fear. By acting today, our team of seasoned professionals can develop an effective strategy to seamlessly transfer your property; thus, allowing you to continue to provide for the individuals and organizations that are near and dear to your heart.
With Halloween around the corner, the horror story of an NFL MVP quarterback who did not take his estate planning game seriously distinctly comes to mind. Steve McNair was murdered by his mistress in 2009 leaving his family with a $20 million estate, but to complicate matters even more, he never drafted a simple will. Steve left behind his wife and four children, with two of the children being from a previous relationship. Initially Steve’s wife, Mechelle, did not list these two minor children as heirs on the probate filing, since she claimed that she could not be sure they were his. Due to the public outcry, she swiftly revised her decision and added them as heirs.
To make matters worse, Steve McNair had purchased a million-dollar home for his mother to live in, but retained the title in his name. Due to Steve’s lack of planning, his wife received the house and demanded that his mother pay $3,000 a month in rent to cover the property taxes. Ultimately, Steve’s mother was forced to move out since she could not afford the rent. When she vacated the residence, she took what she believed was her personal property and shortly later the estate billed her over $50,000 for the removed items. It is highly unlikely that Steve would have wanted his mother to be treated this way and he could have easily taken proper estate planning steps to provide immediate access to funds for his wife and children, while protecting the interest of his mother. Given the size of his estate, he should have at least had a basic will drafted. Even better, with a properly funded revocable living trust, his heirs would have avoided probate court altogether. Instead, he inexplicably did nothing, presumably because he felt as though he was too young to develop an estate plan. The failure of not having a will can significantly increase both income taxes and estate taxes payable by your family. The McNair estate paid federal estate taxes of approximately $4 million. With simple estate planning these estate taxes could have been completely avoided.
While a last will-and-testament is the most recognizable document when it comes to estate planning, it only serves as a small part of an integrated plan that ensures your family stays out of conflict and court. Having a plan in place provides peace of mind that your assets are protected, your medical wishes will be honored, and your loved ones will continue to be cared for. This case clearly demonstrates the benefits of having a team of proven professionals to comprehensively review and monitor your financial path, so you can achieve and maintain your goals. We welcome the opportunity to review your portfolio and estate planning documents to make sure an effective solution is in place to meet your needs and desires.