“Hidden Assets” – The Green Bay Packers Teach an Esate Planning Lesson

Even though I grew up on the Monterey Peninsula and have no family connection to the Midwest, I have been a genuine “Cheesehead” Packer Backer since I was in elementary school.  I always enjoyed watching football in the elements, I liked the idea of a major professional sports team in a small town, and I appreciated the history of Vince Lombardi and the “frozen tundra” of legendary Lambeau Field.  On the other hand, my wife is a big Patriots fan because she grew up in New England.  We both originally competed to influence our four-year-old son to root for our respective teams and I ended up being far more successful than my wife in “brainwashing” him (her term).

We recently took a trip to Lambeau Field to watch the Packers play the Patriots.  (The Packers were victorious!)  On the night before the game, we took a tour of the famous football stadium and our guide mentioned that if we were to put our son on a waiting list for season tickets, he would be eligible in approximately 1,200 to 1,500 years!  

Our guide explained that the reason for the unbelievably long wait is due to the fact that the Packers allow fans on the season ticket waiting list to transfer their spot in line through their estate plans.  As a result, the vast majority of spots on the season ticket waiting list never become available to the team to be given to the next person in line.  Our guide mentioned that the Packers have very specific rules about how fans on the season ticket waiting list can transfer their spots in line upon death and limitations on who may receive a spot in line through an estate plan: only certain members of the immediate family.    

While most people are aware of their “obvious” assets such as real property, bank accounts, stocks, and retirement plans, they might not think about “hidden” assets that can be transferred such as club memberships, intellectual property rights, and apparently even a spot in a long and coveted line!  

These “hidden” assets could be inadvertently neglected in even the most detailed and complete estate plans.  Furthermore, just as with the Packers season ticket waiting list example, often organizations in charge of such “hidden” assets have very specific rules about how such assets can be transferred at death and to whom.  Such rules cannot be found in the Probate Code or other public resources and are therefore often overlooked.  

In planning your estate or reviewing an existing estate plan, you should think about whether you have any “hidden” assets and double check with the organizations governing such assets to make sure your estate plan is in compliance with the organization’s rules about the transfer of such assets upon death.

KRASA LAW is located at 704-D Forest Avenue, Pacific Grove, and Kyle may be reached at 831-920-0205831-920-0205.

Disclaimer: This article is for general information only.  Reading this article does not establish an attorney / client relationship.  Before acting on any of the information presented in this article, it is imperative that you consult with a competent attorney who is licensed to practice law in your community.