“Real estate is everything in Florida, especially when there’s multi-generational wealth to protect from unsatisfied legal obligations. If the assets are encumbered, estate planners need to think across the usual lines of transmission.”
A recent Wealth Advisor’s article asks “The Juice Is Loose, Did O.J.'s Kids Hide Millions From Murder Families? According to the story, somehow O.J. may live comfortably now that he’s out on parole. There are also rumors that Simpson’s kids are buying Florida real estate in cash deals.
Experts say that if the Juice had transferred his $10 million fortune into a structure to protect it from creditors, he may not have had to resort to the shady memorabilia sales that landed him in jail. If he’d also put more thought into his estate planning, he’d have had his attorney draft a prenuptial contract for his marriage. Instead, he had to pay her $2 million in cash and child support in the divorce.
His wife’s death and that of her friend Ron Goldman all but ended his post-football career, as endorsement deals and paid appearances went away. He retired at age 46, which isn’t unheard of for NFL players. However, when the families initiated a civil suit, his retirement savings became vulnerable to what was to be a $33 million lien on his assets and future earnings.
Simpson’s lawyers tried to find any options remaining. For example, a trust in a certain state could’ve kept his money invulnerable. However, that takes foresight, and that time had passed.
O.J.’s lawyers moved $4 million of his money into ERISA-protected retirement accounts and moved his domicile to Florida, so he could keep a house, even in bankruptcy. That worked OK for a while. He didn’t work, and the families seized all the assets they could. But they only clawed back a few million dollars, so his retirement seemed largely assured.
O.J.’s children were permitted to cash his memorabilia checks to make his house payments. However, they spent the money instead. Therefore, the bank foreclosed on the Florida property, and no one knows if any of the pension money was ever deposited.
The kids purchased $500,000 in investment property in St. Petersburg over the last few years for cash. It’s not clear if the money came from O.J.’s NFL pension checks. If it’s deemed a gift, there’s a chance that the families can’t claim they were cheated, provided the “gifts” were documented and structured correctly.
A better plan would have been to use O.J.’s money to buy him a new home to live out the rest of his life, then inherit the real estate after he passes. Florida’s homestead laws protect a residence, not investment property.
One of the main goals of our law practice is to help families like yours plan for the safe, successful transfer of wealth to the next generation. Call our office today to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk about your estate plan, where we can identify the best strategies for you and your family to ensure your legacy of love and financial security. Our office is located in Santa Ana, CA but we serve all of California including Irvine, Orange, Tustin, Newport Beach, and Anaheim.
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Reference: Wealth Advisor (August 6, 2017) “The Juice Is Loose, Did O.J.'s Kids Hide Millions From Murder Families?”