Leave a Legacy, not a Lawsuit

Why Wills and Powers of Attorney Matter

Jeffrey Steinberg
| 2/27/2024

Professional athletes live in a world of high stakes and fleeting fame. Amidst the glory, an often-overlooked reality looms: careers are short, injuries are common, and life, as always, is unpredictable. The old saying “failing to plan is planning to fail” rings true here and sadly, the risk is often chaos, legal battles, and financial hardship for loved ones – not exactly the legacy that most professional athletes dream of.

Wills and powers of attorney hold immense importance for professional athletes, just as they do for anyone else. However, the unique circumstances and financial situations of professional athletes make these legal documents even more crucial.

Seven reasons why Wills and Powers of Attorney matter for pro athletes:

1. Safeguarding Assets Safeguarding Assets

Professional athletes often possess substantial wealth tied to their careers. Having a will allows them to specify how they want their assets distributed after their passing. Without a will, state or provincial laws determine asset distribution, which may not align with the athlete's wishes or the needs of their loved ones.

2. Ensuring Guardianship for Children  Ensuring Guardianship for Children

Many athletes have families or dependents who rely on them financially. A will allows athletes to designate guardians for their minor children, ensuring their well-being and care in the event of the athlete's death.

3. Managing Estate, Income Taxes, and Probate Managing Estate, Income Taxes, and Probate:

A meticulously crafted will can help minimize estate and income taxes, streamline the probate process, and ultimately save both time and money for the athlete's heirs. This is particularly significant considering the intricate nature of their financial portfolios, which may include investments, endorsement deals, real estate, and other non-traditional assets. Estate, income and inheritance taxes can vary greatly between jurisdictions, so creating a will that considers the tax laws of a specific jurisdiction can help minimize tax liabilities for beneficiaries.

4. Making Healthcare Decisions Making Healthcare Decisions

Powers of attorney enable athletes to appoint trusted individuals to make healthcare decisions on their behalf, should they become incapacitated. This ensures that their medical preferences are respected and that someone they trust is authorized to advocate for their best interests.

5. Facilitating Financial Management Facilitating Financial Management

Powers of attorney for financial matters allow athletes to designate someone to manage their finances and make financial decisions on their behalf, particularly if they are unable to do so themselves. This document is vital for ensuring that their financial affairs are handled responsibly and in accordance with their wishes.  

6. Ensuring Privacy and Confidentiality Ensuring Privacy and Confidentiality

With a will and power of attorney prepared and in place, the privacy and confidentiality of an athlete's personal matters can largely be protected. Failing to plan appropriately may result in public exposure and potentially contentious disputes regarding their estate or healthcare choices.

7. Preparing for Unexpected Situations Preparing for Unexpected Situations

Professional athletes face unique risks due to the physical demands of their careers, including the possibility of injuries that could impact their decision-making ability. By creating a will and power of attorney, they can proactively safeguard their future and ensure their wishes are carried out, even if unforeseen circumstances arise.


Navigating the risks and rewards that stem from a career as a professional athlete necessitates proactive planning. Wills and powers of attorney serve as crucial instruments, safeguarding both assets and well-being. These documents ensure loved ones are provided for and desires are respected, even in the face of unforeseen circumstances like incapacitation or death. Prioritizing a well-crafted estate plan can be the ultimate game-winning play, securing the athletes and their families’ future while protecting their legacy, long after the final whistle blows.

Disclaimer: This information is made available for educational purposes. It provides general information and is not intended as a substitute for personalized advice related to your situation. 

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Jeffrey Steinberg
Jeffrey Steinberg
Partner, Business Management & Transactional Services
Jeffrey Steinberg CPA Professional Corporation
David Silber
David Silber
Partner, Sports & Entertainment Tax
Ananth Balasingam Crowe Soberman
Ananth Balasingam
Partner, Tax
Ananth Balasingam Professional Corporation