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Tom Benson's estate being dragged through the probate process

The owner of the Saints has been in the middle of a media frenzy lately regarding his estate plan because of his family's claim that he is unable to make decisions about his own estate.

Tom Benson's daughter is asking that her 87-year-old father be removed from his position of trustee over the trust that includes Lone Star Capital Bank, San Antonio car dealerships and real estate. The court temporarily placed two receivers over the trust, but Benson's daughter wants her father removed permanently.

In May, a federal judge will decide where the case is to be heard. The case will either remain in the federal court system or be moved to the San Antonio probate court.

The entire issue over his estate started when Tom Benson said that he plans to leave his sports assets, including the New Orleans Saints, to his current wife instead of his daughter. Benson and his wife have been married for 10 years. In response to his estate plan declaration, Benson's daughter and her two children filed lawsuits that are aimed at having Benson declared incompetent to manage his wealth, which is being called the family's wealth.

The issue of jilted heirs is one that isn't ever easy to deal with. In Benson's case, he is having to go through the process of straightening everything out while he is still alive. It is important for anyone who has considerable assets to create an estate plan when he or she is legally able to do so. That might help to prevent some of the issues that Benson is having from happening to them.

Source: The Times-Picayune, "Tom Benson family feud: Federal judge in Texas sets hearing on trust dispute," Katherine Sayre, April. 21, 2015

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