In January, the tragic deaths of NBA legend Kobe Bryant (Kobe) and his 13-year-old daughter, Brianna, shined a new light on the vital need for an estate plan. At the time, little was known about the planning strategies Kobe put in place to protect and preserve his estimated $600 million estate for his wife, Vanessa, and his three surviving daughters, Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months.
Since then, court filings made by Vanessa have shed light on both the successes and failures of Kobe’s estate planning efforts. On the positive side, Kobe created an extensive estate plan, which included the Kobe Bryant Trust. It protected his assets, reduced estate-tax liability, and passed his wealth onto his family.
While the contents of the trust remain private, the court documents do provide a summary of the trust’s terms. Upon Kobe’s death, the trust was set up to allow Vanessa and her daughters to draw from the principal and income of the trust’s assets during Vanessa’s lifetime, with the remainder going to their children upon Vanessa’s death.
However, the trust lists Vanessa and his eldest daughters Natalia, Brianna (who died in the helicopter crash with her father), and Bianka as beneficiaries. His youngest daughter, Capri, was not included in the document. Reportedly, Kobe and his estate planning attorneys simply never got around to adding Capri to the trust before his untimely death at age 41.
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