Celebrity Estate Lessons: Kobe Bryant
February 28th, 2022
Contributor: Kate Marchewka
Kobe Bryant's unexpected death was unquestionably tragic. But adding to this was the fact that Bryant didn't update his estate plan in a timely fashion. At the time of his death, his estate was worth $600 million dollars. He had done some planning; he had a trust in place naming his wife, Vanessa Bryant, and his three older children, Natalia, Gianna (who also died in the crash), and Bianka as beneficiaries. However, he hadn't updated it to include his 1-year old daughter, Capri.
The trust itself was well written, allowing the beneficiaries to draw from its assets and providing that any remaining funds pass to his children after Vanessa's death. In order to fix the exclusion of Capri mistake, the co-trustees petitioned the court to amend the trust and include Capri, citing the fact that the trust had been expanded each time the couple had given birth in the past.
A further wrinkle came from a lawsuit filed by Sofia Laine, Vanessa's mother. Sofia claimed she had been forced to work for 18 years as a nanny without compensation and that she had been forced to evacuate a home Kobe had bought for her and had a car taken away that he had also provided (which she apparently didn't count as compensation).
Vanessa countered, stating she was a stay-at-home mother and that she and Kobe were their primary caregivers. She also pointed out that for about 10 of those years her children were in school and sports and so Laine's claims of being forced to work 18 hours days seemed odd.The case was settled in 2021, but the terms of the settlement were undisclosed.
While Kobe's out of date estate plan wasn't an error on the level as past features, we always recommend keeping your plan up to date. Whether it's a birth in the family, a death in the family, or any other major life change it's good to revisit your documents to make sure they're up to date. Luckily, we know some people that can help out with that.
Categories: Celebrity Estate Lessons