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Elder Law and Estate Planning Blog - Lancaster, PA

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

JoePa's Will

Among this week's news was the announcement that Joe Paterno's Last Will and Testament was sealed.  Although a rare occurrence (Paterno's is the only will sealed in the past 18 months according to county records) it is not an unusual request for high-profile individuals.  And in a death as public as Paterno's, especially surrounding the Sandusky scandal, it's no wonder that the family wants some aspect of privacy.  Which judge declared the sealing of the case file could not be determined, but the judge sealed the entire case file.

Paterno passed away from lung cancer on January 22.  Penn State paid an estimated $5.5 million to his estate in salary, bonuses, television and radio revenue and death benefits as well as forgiving the $350,000 oustanding loans and debt incurred by the Paternos.  Other details on Paterno's estate can be found on the loan court docket sheet that remains a public record and from the Penn State and state employees retirement system.

Like most wills in Pennsylvania, Paterno's will entered the probate process on April 5.  Probate is a court process in which the personal representative (or Executor) notifies beneficiaries, gathers assets, pays all debts and taxes, and properly distributes the estate.  Reasons for probate include fraud prevention and protection of beneficiaries.  In Pennsylvania, it is an efficient way to deal with estate assets and their distribution while protecting beneficiaries and creditors.  By sealing the will, the Paterno family was able to add another level of protection and privacy to the estate and to the beneficiaries who have already been through so much.

If you have any other questions about probate, visit our FAQs or check out this pamphlet on probate.  Or contact our office at (717) 560-4966 or questions@piersonelderlaw.com.

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