Paterno estate planning move under scrutiny

Penn Statehas proven that he can strategize on the football field and also he apparently can strategize when it comes to estate planning.

Paterno has been fired by Penn State Trustees amidst the 40 child sexual abuse charges filed against former Nittany Lions defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.

However, a financial move that Paterno made in July seemed to fly under the radar until the Sandusky abuse scandal which recently erupted.

Paterno switched ownership of his home from joint ownership with his wife, Susan, to sole ownership in her name only.  The move makes it appear the coach knew that the allegations against Sandusky were about to be unvcovered.

Paterno isn't under legal investigation, but may be named in civil suit(s).  The home, valued near $600,000, might have been a target for prosecutors.

However, those familiar with Pennsylvania law realize that a change in estate planning laws was more of a reason for Mr. Paterno to change ownership of his home.

According to Investornews.com, current law exempts $5 million per spouse from estate taxes, though that is set to fall to $1 million each in 2013.  Mrs. Paterno may have needed more assets to build up her estate to $5 million.

The Paterno's continued to receive bad news this week as the football coach, who has served the university for 61 years, was diagnosed with a treatable form of lung cancer.

"Last weekend, my father was diagnosed with a treatable form of lung cancer during a follow-up visit for a bronchial illness," Scott Paterno the son of Joe Paterno said. "As everyone can appreciate, this is a deeply personal matter for my parents, and we simply ask that his privacy be respected as he proceeds with treatment."

It is often said that the number one is a fresh start.  The Paterno's have had quite a 2011 and I'm sure they are anticipating a fresh start in 2012.  The coach lost his job and was diagnosed with cancer within a couple of weeks.  Talk about a bad day!

If you have some estate plan questions or just want to pop into one of our local offices to tell us how your day is going, don't hesitate to contact your local Liberty Tax office.  We are gearing up for tax season and would love to see you!

David Rocci 

Disclaimer: Every effort has been taken to provide the most accurate and honest analysis of the tax information provided in this blog. Please use your discretion before making any decisions based on the information provided. This blog is not intended to be a substitute for seeking professional tax advice based on your individual needs.
Posted To: Tax Rants by David Rocci By: Marathon On: Monday, November 28, 2011
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