Probate Litigation Over $1 home May Loom for Joe Paterno's Heirs

A brewing probate dispute may be of interest to many New York. It involves former Penn State Coach Joe Paterno who is, at age 84, still very much alive. But eyebrows were raised when it was announced that Paterno "sold" his home to his to his wife last July for $1. Was it simply a part of normal estate planning? If it was an attempt to protect his house from potential judgments instead, probate litigation may be on the horizon after the recent revelation of Paterno's claimed involvement concerning the child abuse charges against Jerry Sandusky.

Sandusky, a former Paterno assistant, was the subject of a grand jury investigation that began in March of 2011. Paterno sold his house worth over $500,000 to his wife for a dollar in July. It might look suspicious, but there is no overt proof that the legendary coach had any other intention than to provide for his wife if he should die first.

It is anticipated that the alleged child abuse victims and their families will sue Penn State University and several of its officials, which may include Paterno. Speculation about Paterno's involvement in the case arose when he was fired by the university a week after the recent arrest of Sandusky. Whatever the outcome of looming legal battles, it appears that Paterno took action to create the best circumstances for his family regarding his estate.

Lawyers familiar with estate planning and probate as well as how to guard against potential probate litigation in New York can help individuals and families anticipate most contingencies. A Long Island probate attorney can review all of the facts and circumstances and offer objective advice. Together the lawyer and client can work to create an estate plan that accomplishes its goals within the bounds of the law to achieve an equitable distribution to heirs and beneficiaries.

Source: The Patriot-News, "Joe Paterno sold family home to his wife for $1, N.Y. Times says, in move that could protect assets," Nov. 16, 2011

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