Former NFL tight end Aaron Hernandez created a trust before his prison suicide in early 2017. This trust may have been designed to provide money for his young daughter, that couldn’t be accessed by creditors.
According to court documents filed in the Bristol County (Mass.) Probate and Family Court by the attorney for Hernandez’s estate, there’s a “AJH Irrevocable Trust.”
Irrevocable trusts aim to shield their beneficiaries from claims by creditors and others, because the trust relinquishes ownership and control of the trust assets.
Many say that Hernandez’s estate didn’t leave much, if anything, for his five-year-old daughter when the New England Patriots released him in 2013. He was released on the day he was arrested for murdering Odin Lloyd. New England paid him more than $9 million of the $40 million contract he’d signed a year earlier.
John Dugan, the attorney who represents the Hernandez estate, said the estate “will probably be insolvent.” Hernandez had debts of $2.82 million listed, while declaring only $1.2 million in assets. The Boston law firm that helped Hernandez create the trust, was ordered by a judge to turn over confidential documents and related materials to Dugan.
Another attorney, a trustee of the trust, declined to tell the media when the trust was created, whether Hernandez was named as a trustee and how much it’s worth. However, he did confirm that any assets protected are “not part of the probate estate,” which is the target of legal bills, tax liens, and three wrongful death suits.
Although the terms of an irrevocable trust are virtually set in stone once it’s signed, a probate judge can undo the trust under Massachusetts’ fraudulent conveyance law, if the creator of the trust was experiencing credit problems, trying to hide assets and naming someone else as a trustee.
The 7,100-square foot home Hernandez shared with his longtime partner Shayanna Jenkins and their daughter Avielle was sold to a real estate investor for $1 million. The buyer said the home had fallen into disrepair and needed extensive renovations. It was listed at $1.3 million.
Hernandez committed suicide in his prison cell on April 19, 2017.
Reference: Yahoo (November 28, 2017) “Report: Aaron Hernandez may have hidden money in trust before his death”
Estate Planning, Irrevocable Trust, Asset Protection, Probate, Inheritance, Virginia