New York basketball fans may be interested in learning about the legal battle that’s brewing in Oklahoma City over the ownership of that city’s NBA team. A 20 percent share in the Oklahoma City Thunder basketball team is in dispute. The interest was held by an oil and gas mogul who died in a car crash on March 2. His creditors want the stake in the basketball team to be sold to the highest bidder to pay for debts, but there is concern among creditors that it will instead be sold to his wife for a lower price.
Creditors believe that McClendon’s estate may be insolvent, which would mean that there might not be enough assets in the probate estate to repay debts. The 20 percent stake in the Oklahoma City Thunder may be the estate’s most valuable asset. Attorneys for the estate have stated that the assertion that the estate is insolvent is incorrect.
McClendon had used his share in the basketball team to guarantee a loan from Oaktree Capital Management LP. The court granted the estate a waiver on inventorying assets because the estate has argued that making the value public at this time might adversely affect the value of the assets.
When a person dies with debts and there are valuable assets in the estate, creditors usually must be paid before assets are distributed to beneficiaries. When there is a dispute about the distribution of assets , probate litigation may result.
A beneficiary facing estate litigation may wish to consult an attorney. An estate planning lawyer might be able to help draft documents creating a will or trust that can help prevent probate litigation in the future.