Stadium with seating and field

Don’t leave it all on the field: Why athletes require special planning

United States Publication February 2020

Authors include K. Eli Akhavan, Evan Bloom, Martin M. Shenkman, Jonathan I. Shenkman, Ben Utecht and Eido M. Walny.

The professional athlete needs the same sound foundation of financial and estate planning that all wealthy clients require. However, the professional athlete typically faces many unique circumstances that must be integrated into the planning process. Movie stars, musicians, entertainers, and others with “star” power encounter some of the challenges common to athletes, so that the applicability of some of the planning ideas discussed here will be broader than merely for athlete clients.

There is potentially an important time pressure to planning for pro athletes that might require quick action. If the political balance of power changes in Washington in 2020, a Democratic administration might enact restrictive estate tax changes similar to that proposed by Senator Bernie Sanders in the Senate and Congressman Jimmy Gomez (CA-34) in the House. These bills reduce the gift tax exemption to US$1 million and the estate tax exemption to US$3.5 million. Discounts, GRATs, grantor trusts and GST planning may all be severely restricted. Thus, for athletes that have already amassed substantial wealth, planning should proceed before those changes might occur.

Read the entire article.


K. Eli Akhavan is a lawyer in the trusts and estates group at Norton Rose Fulbright in the firm’s New York City office.

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