Many will remember the tragic death of Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura, who died January 22, 2017 in a single-car crash. While contracts are an important part of professional sports, or any job for that matter, some will be surprised to note that the Royals have not paid the remaining $20.25 million guaranteed to Ventura, whose five-year-old daughter is the sole heir of his estate.
As the executor for the estate, the child's mother has hired attorneys to pursue a resolution. The Players Association and Major League Baseball have become involved in the through the grievance process, which is confidential. The issue is complicated because there is not precedence for these circumstances of a player dying while they were owed money on a guaranteed multi-year contract.
A complicated financial picture
As is often the case for athletes from poor communities, the star picture was supporting his extended family and was known to be generous in giving cars and expensive gifts. He even bailed out his grandfather's hardware business and paid off friend's debts. His personal life also tumultuous, however, having married a woman months before his death who was already married to another man. This messy financial picture has left the estate broke, despite the fact that there is a $12.6 million life insurance policy payout held in protected trust in Florida and is not part of the estate.
Having a clear plan for heirs
Ventura was 25 years old when he died. He delivered a clutch performance in the 2014 World Series for the Royals and was said to be getting better as a player. The chaos of his life is now left for the courts to untangle. The daughter will have financial support through the life insurance policy, but the Royals contract is still up in the air.
Paying and collecting on debts during probate are two of many services an estate law attorney provides. They are there to help throughout the entire probate process, ensuring that matters are addressed in a timely fashion with a minimum of expense to the family.