Sports/Estates fans, we’re in that period during the year where playoff hockey and basketball overlap with the beginning of the baseball season. A lot of questions come up for fans during this time:
- He’s making HOW much?
- How can the team get out of that guy’s contract?
- What would happen if the Boston Bruins spontaneously combusted in the middle of their playoff game?
For this week’s blog, I thought I would cover a few interesting examples where the worlds of Estates, Trusts and Sports meet.
The Raptor Trust
When doing research for this post, I was disappointed to learn that The Raptor Trust has nothing to do with basketball. The Trust’s purpose is to provide free care for orphaned and injured birds. Might I suggest they start with the Atlanta Hawks and New Orleans Pelicans? Go Raps!
In Major League Baseball, contracts are fully guaranteed, even if a player suffers a career-ending injury or passes away. When Yordano Ventura of the Kansas City Royals died in a car crash in early 2017, he was still owed about $20 million through the 2019 season.
Ventura is the first MLB player with a multi-year guaranteed contract to have died before the deal expired. It looks like the lack of precedent has led to a delay in payment to his estate. More than two years after his death, The Kansas City Star reported that the value of the contract has yet to be paid to his beneficiaries.
It has also been reported that Ventura’s contract included a provision that could void payment for failure to perform because of injury or death from driving while intoxicated. The toxicology reports from Ventura’s car crash were never released. Sports teams have begun drafting contract terms that would make deals non-guaranteed based on participation in dangerous activities
Serving a Greater Purpose
In the hopes of advancing research on Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease associated with head injuries, many professional athletes have announced their intention to donate their brains to science after they pass away.
Despite any public announcement made before death, even if a professional athlete has expressed such an intention in his or her will, ultimately the Executor has the final say with respect to donation. Much like any other estate matter, deciding to donate your body to science requires planning.
It’s crucial to let both your executor and family members know about your wishes, because some programs will not accept donations if a family member objects to the bequest of a loved one’s brain or body.
Hope for Leafs Fans
Finally, did you know that the Stanley Cup is actually Trust Property? It has Trustees and Regulations on how it should be awarded. To my fellow Leafs fans, let’s avoid the annual disappointment and just seek out a Variation of Trust order instead.