Stephen LaTreal McNair (1973-200) – NFL Football Player
Steve McNair was an American football quarterback who spent the majority of his National Football League (NFL) career with the Tennessee Titans. McNair played college football at Alcorn State in Lorman, Mississippi, where he won the 1994 Walter Payton Award as the top player in NCAA Division I-AA. He was drafted third overall by the NFL’s Houston Oilers in 1995, becoming the Oilers’ regular starting quarterback in 1997, their first season in Tennessee (though he started six games over the prior two seasons in Houston), and remained the starting quarterback for the Titans through 2005. After 2005 season, McNair was traded to the Baltimore Ravens, with whom he played for two seasons before retiring after thirteen NFL seasons.
On July 4, 2009, McNair was fatally shot by his mistress, Sahel Kazemi, in a murder-suicide. McNair’s wife, Mechelle, was stunned by the murder as well as the news of the girlfriend. The next shock came when she learned that McNair neglected to draft a Will despite his $20 million estate and many potential heirs. McNair’s widow had to beg a probate judge to release some money from the estate, which was frozen pending a payment of $3.7 million in federal and state estate taxes. McNair had two sons with Mechelle and he had two other sons from a previous relationship who are also heirs. In October 2010, McNair’s widow went to a Nashville judge and asked for at least a portion of the assets be unfrozen so that his children could have some sort of monetary source. The judge agreed and each of the four children received $500,000. In Tennessee, with no Will, McNair’s wishes would not matter, which generally means that his widow will receive one-third of his property, and his four children (legitimate and illegitimate alike) will equally split the other two-thirds and be distributed to them when they become adults. If McNair had used a trust, and properly funded it during his life, he would have kept his affairs private, allowed his children to receive their inheritance when he felt they were old enough to receive it, and, most importantly, saved his family from a great deal of expense, turmoil, and emotional distress.
Steve McNair was a talented professional quarterback but even famous athletes can fail to plan properly. If you want to minimize the consequences of failing to properly plan your estate, then contact The Mendel Law Firm, L.P. for a free initial consultation on estate planning, trust planning, and/or probate issues