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Probate and Estate Litigation Blog

Season tickets at the heart of sports fan will contest

Golden Gophers fans throughout Minnesota certainly appreciate the value of good game day tickets, but most probably do not expect football tickets to be the fuel of a dispute over the family inheritance. Many sports organizations build provisions into their ticket licenses that expressly describe limitations on transferability or inheritability. For one diehard football family, however, ownership of perpetual season tickets appears to be the number one sticking point in a will contest that has lasted more than a decade.

According to family legend, a Georgia Bulldogs fan defended the honor of his hometown team more than 50 years ago by engaging in a fistfight with an opposing fan while holding his infant son in a bassinet swung over one arm. Unfortunately, the fighting fan left no mention in his will about how his coveted season tickets should be distributed amongst family members and loved ones.

As it stands, the avid fan's two children continue to pummel each other in will litigation that has lasted more than 10 years since their father's death. Although the football tickets are not specifically mentioned in the father's will, sources close to the family say that the tickets are the main sticking point in the dispute over estate property.

Whatever the true source of the ongoing litigation between the children may be, the dispute illustrates the point that the fate of team tickets can be a serious point of contention if not effectively addressed in an estate plan.

This knock-down and drag-out battle among siblings demonstrates the importance of advance estate planning, but also highlights a situation in which both parties may have a legitimate claim to a gift their father may have intended both children to share.

Source: ESPN, "Dad's dead; now hand over his tickets," Paula Lavigne, Sept. 7, 2012

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