Estate Planning: Vanessa Bryant and the Dangers of a Poorly Drafted Trust

12 Apr 2020

By Brown & Hobkirk, PLLC

In Estate Planning

After the birth of his first daughter, Kobe Bryant established a trust, which he later amended to include two additional daughters. However, prior to his sudden death, he did not amend his trust to add his newborn daughter.

The trust currently provides that his wife Vanessa, and his daughters, Natalia, Bianka and Gianna (deceased), are entitled to discretionary distributions of income and principal for their reasonable support. Since the trust specifically names Kobe’s wife and 3 daughters as beneficiaries, his fourth daughter, Capri, is not entitled to similar distributions. Vanessa filed a Petition asking that Kobe’s trust be amended to include Capri, because the trust does not reflect Kobe’s intent and that he would have wanted to provide for his youngest daughter.

When establishing a trust, we recommend including language for future born or adopted children, even if they don’t exist at the time the trust is established. If Kobe had included a fairly standard clause to divide his trust into equal shares for his wife and all of his children (including future born or adopted children), Vanessa wouldn’t have had to file a legal action to ensure Capri benefited from his trust.

We recommend that an experienced estate planning attorney review your trust every 3-5 years to ensure that the language meets your current and future needs. Call Brown & Hobkirk, PLLC today for a free consultation!