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Jerry Buss' visionary estate plan

This past week marked the end of an era so to speak for one NBA franchise. With the recent death of Lakers owner Jerry Buss, the question now becomes - what happens to his share in the ownership?

Well, according to sources, Jerry Buss' death places his 66 percent ownership in a trust that is shared among his six children. So, those Houston Rockets fans that were hoping that perhaps a greedy owner might cause the Lakers history of franchise success to go down the tube, rest easy, they are currently doing a good job of that to themselves anyways.

The trust set up by Buss and his attorneys stipulates that the team cannot be sold off in smaller portions than the Buss family controlled 66 percent. Therefore, the children cannot "split" in their decision should they ever consider selling their ownership stake. While the vote does not have to be unanimous to sell, it would take a two-thirds majority vote to sell the family stake.

The Buss family did state that it was their father's will, desire, and expectation that the franchise would remain a family owned enterprise and he crafted his will and trust accordingly. Jerry groomed some of his children throughout his ownership for their eventual ownership having one son run basketball operations for the team and one daughter run the business aspects of the team.

Jerry Buss' foresight in how he envisioned leaving his legacy, both in terms of wealth and imprint on the franchise, just goes to show how a well crafted vision and estate plan can make those visions a reality. A skilled and knowledgeable estate planning attorney can help with the crafting of those visions and further assist in the execution of them when the time arises.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Lakers expected to remain a Buss family-owned team," Mike Bresnahan, Feb. 19, 2013

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