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Probate and Estate Litigation Blog

Trust battle involving NFL owner continues

The latest in a series of battles in an ongoing war between a businessman who owns an NFL football team and his family continues as an appeals court recently agreed with a lower court's decision that the businessman should no longer be allowed to serve as trustee for a trust that was set up for the businessman's daughter. Fans of the Minnesota Vikings and those who follow this blog may be familiar with the background of this case.

This trust litigation stems from a family fight that has left the businessman estranged from his daughter. The mother of the daughter, who originally established the trust, is now deceased. For his part, the businessman has made a move to consolidate all of his assets, including his interest in professional sports teams, so that his current wife can receive them upon his death.

The trust in question, although not directly involving the sports teams, is substantial. In addition to $5 million in liquid assets, the trust also owns land and a substantial portion of the businessman's financial empire.

The daughter of the businessman successfully won a court order removing her father as trustee of this trust, which was established for the daughter's benefit. The daughter accused her father of effectively diverting millions of dollars away from the trust.

Although the appeals court correctly states that usually a court will be reluctant to remove a trustee over his or her objection, in this case, the trial court had enough evidence before it to do just that. The appellate court also concluded that the trial court's appointment of two new people to administer the trust was appropriate.

As this case illustrates, trust litigation can be very complicated, and it may even involve having to appeal a court's decision. The assistance of a skilled Minnesota probate litigation attorney can be valuable with respect to navigating through trust litigation in this state.

Source: The New Orleans Advocate, "Texas appeals court affirms decision to oust Tom Benson as trust administrator," Jaquetta White, Sept. 9, 2015

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