Monday, November 29, 2010

NEWS FLASH: Yankees Beat the Miami Dolphins!

Yes I know, that's impossible. But the heirs of George Steinbrenner, who died recently at the age of 80, certainly came out ahead of the heirs of Joe Robbie, the former owner of the Miami Dolphins who died in 1990.

Steinbrenner's timing couldn't have been better. His heirs will inherit the team without having to pay any estate taxes on a $1.1 billion estate. See “How Steinbrenner Saved His Heirs a $600 Million Tax Bill” from the Wall Street Journal here.

Contrast this with Joe Robbie. When he died in 1990 the heirs had to sell the football team and the stadium at fire-sale prices in order to pay a whopping $47 million estate tax bill.

Unlike most owners Joe Robbie built his own stadium entirely with private capital. The stadium had to be sold along with the team and it no longer bears Joe Robbie’s name. For more details see “
Yankees vs. Dolphins: Steinbrenner’s Final Victory

You could say, "Yeah, but his heirs are still wealthy." True. But it really isn’t just about money. Robbie's intentions were defeated; his family was removed from the success he worked so hard to build from his very modest depression-era beginnings. Estate planning affects the heart as well as the pocket book.

(What happens to the ultra-wealthy can happen to any small business owner…often with more devastating results. I’m always available to share my experience and knowledge to create a better estate plan.)


My thanks to my associate Greg Turza who practices in the state of Illinois for this clever commentary on estate planning. 


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