Kobe Bryant’s Widow, Vanessa Bryant, Asks Judge to Amend Kobe’s Trust
Vanessa Bryant has filed legal documents with the Los Angeles County probate court asking to amend Kobe Bryant’s trust. Although Kobe almost assuredly had a well-crafted estate plan, it failed to add the couple’s nine-month-old child, Capri, to the trust documents.
According to court filings, Vanessa Bryant insists that it was her late husband’s intention to include all of their children in his trust, however, his trust had not been updated since the birth of their youngest daughter, Capri. The petition asks that the trust be amended so that it includes Capri.
The basketball star’s trust was initially created in 2003, two years after his marriage to Vanessa and a few months after the birth of their eldest daughter Natalia. Since then, the documents have been amended several times, after the birth of each of their daughters. The last time the documents were modified was in 2017, shortly after the birth of their third daughter, Bianka. Unfortunately, the couple had not made any changes to the documents prior to Kobe’s tragic passing on January 26.
According to California Probate Code, “if the continuance of the trust is necessary to carry out a material purpose of the trust, the trust cannot be modified or terminated unless the court, in its discretion, determines that the reason for doing so under the circumstances outweighs the interest in accomplishing a material purpose of the trust.” In other words, the court would likely allow for an amendment to an irrevocable trust if it finds that the proposed change is consistent with the material purpose of the trust or outweighs the interest in accomplishing the material purpose of the trust.
The court filed petition states that “The material purpose of the Trust is to provide a fund for Kobe’s wife and daughters of Kobe and Vanessa for their support, care, and maintenance and, at the same time, to provide protection for the Trust’s assets so that the assets will be available for the benefit of Kobe and Vanessa’s daughters, equally, upon Vanessa’s death.” Currently, the trust provides income for Vanessa and two of the couple’s daughters, Natalia and Bianka. Because Capri was not included in the most recent trust documents, upon Vanessa’s death, “the Bryant Trusts will be divided into two shares, not three. This was not Kobe’s intent.” The proposed amendment would add Capri and her descendants as “permissible beneficiaries of any trust that allows distributions.”
Vanessa Bryant’s unfortunate situation highlights the importance of making sure your trust documents are up to date. Trust documents should either contain provisions that provide for after-born children, or be updated immediately after the birth of any children or any other significant life event. At Lawyer in Blue Jeans, we provide our clients with free trust reviews to determine if any changes need to be made. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.
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