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NFL team subject of litigation re trust set up by previous owner

NFL fans know that Illinois is home to the Chicago Bears. As in most states, however, there are likely football fans in this state who cheer for other teams, as well. While most people simply follow what is happening on the field, some also enjoy reading behind-the-scenes news about their favorite players or franchises. One team in particular has become the subject of a legal dispute involving a trust the owner executed before stepping down from his position.

The team in question is the Broncos, which was previously owned by Pat Bowlen. He stepped down after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, but before doing so, set a trust in place and appointed three trustees. Stipulations written in the trust included that the trustees would one day choose a new owner for the Broncos from among Bowlen’s children.

The problem is that two of Bowlen’s daughters, each from separate marriages, have expressed their intents to become acting CEO to carry on their father’s legacy. It is a highly complex situation, further complicated by the fact that Bowlen’s son has filed a petition to have the three trustees removed. The trustees have stated that Beth Bowlen Wallace is not qualified to step up as the new owner of the Denver Broncos. She disputes that assertion, stating that she has met all the criteria her father listed in the trust.

The trustees have requested that the NFL arbitrate the case, a move that Bowlen’s son has claimed is nothing more than a delay tactic because the trustees know they will be out of jobs once a new owner is chosen. Trust problems like this one can take months, even years, to resolve. If someone in Illinois is currently entangled in a similar legal quagmire regarding a family legacy, support may be sought by requesting a meeting with an experienced estate planning and administration attorney.

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