Wills are rarely hidden from public view. However, some Hollywood celebrities and other famous people request the sealing of a will for privacy.
Earlier this year, legendary Penn State University football coach Joe Paterno died of cancer. A county judge sealed Paterno’s will in April at the request of his estate. Estate administration officials and Paterno family members called the rare request “appropriate” for “prominent individuals.” Paterno was survived by his wife, Sue, five children and 17 grandchildren.
Paterno’s fame was due in part to his Division I college football win-record. Paterno was head coach of the Nittany Lions from 1966 until last year. In November 2011, university trustees fired the longtime coach over backlash from a child sex abuse scandal, involving assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.
Paterno died two months later, in the wake of charges against his former defensive coordinator. Paterno was not criminally implicated, but much of the media spotlight fell on Paterno because his fame and professional association with Sandusky.
The Paterno family apparently had a change of heart. The estate announced it would ask the court to unseal the 1997 document and future, related court filings. The family said it reversed the decision to “ensure maximum transparency” and avoid “unfounded speculation.”
It was reported that Sue Paterno, the coach’s wife and the will’s “personal representative,” inherited the coach’s personal property. The remaining estate was left to a trust. Family statements did not include the worth of the estate.
Some of the coach’s personal wealth has been documented. Records at the university revealed that Paterno earned $1 million in his last year at Penn State. An additional $3 million was paid to the Paterno family in April for payments connected to the coach’s university job contract.
In May, Paterno’s family made public the size of the coach’s pension — $13.4 million — which, in part, will be donated to college and local charities.
Source: sportsillustrated.cnn.com, “Family releases Paterno’s formerly sealed will,” June 15, 2012