87 year old billionaire Tom Benson’s Competency Trial ended its first week. It’s expected to pick back up soon.
The lawsuit in essence is a power struggle between Tom Benson’s daughter and Tom Benson’s third wife over control of the NFL New Orleans Saints and NBA Pelicans professional sports teams. They are Mr. Benson’s primary assets and worth more than a billion dollars. They had been placed into a trust for Mr. Benson’s daughter and two adult grandchildren. Recently Mr. Benson’s had sought to move those assets from the trust and Mr. Benson’s wife has made efforts to preclude Mr. Benson’s adult daughter and two adult grandchildren from seeing Mr. Benson.
Incompetency Court Trials are also held here in North Carolina. They are a trial wherein a judge seeks to determine whether or not the person is a competent adult and is able to handle their own affairs. If they are found incompetent then the Court can appoint a Guardian of the Estate to handle their financial affairs and a Guardian of the Person to be in charge of their medical affairs. They can be very heated and difficult trials as they are in the Tom Benson case in Louisiana.
In contrast, Donald Sterling, the owner of the NBA Los Angeles Clippers, had his Mental Competency issues handled by the terms of his Living Trust. That avoided the necessity of a lengthy and very contentious Court Trial. One can do Mental Disability Planning inside their Estate Plan through their Living Trust, aka Revocable Living Trust, aka Family Trust. Donald Sterling had taken that precaution in his Estate Planning. Tom Benson did not.
We will wait to see what the rest of the Tom Benson Competency Trial brings and what the Court determines. The ruling of the local court in New Orleans is likely to be appealed to higher Courts. The matter may continue on in litigation for some time.
At the Law Firm of Steven Andrew Jackson, Attorney and Counsellor at Law, we have helped hundreds of families protect themselves and their loved ones, avoid Estate Taxes and Probate Costs, and keep their Estate Plans current with the law through The Customized Protective Estate Planning Solution™.