Wisconsin | Minnesota | Illinois | California 414-253-8500

Estate Planning for NFL Players

Estate planning is essential for everyone, but it's particularly crucial for professional athletes like NFL players. With high income and unique career challenges, NFL players must ensure their assets and legacy are well-protected. At Heritage Law Office, our experienced estate planning attorneys can help you navigate the complexities of estate planning, tailored to your specific needs. Contact us either online or at 414-253-8500 to schedule a free consultation today.

The Importance of Estate Planning for NFL Players

Estate planning is a critical aspect of managing one's wealth and assets, particularly for high-net-worth individuals such as NFL players. It provides a comprehensive plan to protect, preserve, and distribute your assets according to your wishes, minimizing potential disputes among your loved ones.

Short Career Span and High Earnings

A significant factor that sets NFL players apart from other professionals is their relatively short career span. Most NFL players have an average career length of about 3.3 years, during which they earn substantial amounts of money. Estate planning helps ensure that these earnings are safeguarded and managed wisely to provide financial stability and security throughout their lives.

Protecting Assets from Potential Risks

NFL players may face various risks, such as injuries, lawsuits, and financial disputes. Estate planning can help protect their assets from such liabilities, ensuring that their wealth is preserved for their future and their loved ones.

Key Estate Planning Tools for NFL Players

An estate plan for an NFL player should be comprehensive and designed to address their unique circumstances. Some of the most important estate planning tools for NFL players include:


A will is a legal document that outlines how an individual's assets should be distributed upon their death. For NFL players, having a well-drafted will is crucial to ensure that their wealth is allocated according to their wishes, and potential disputes among family members are minimized.


Trusts are legal entities that hold assets on behalf of beneficiaries, providing increased control and flexibility over the distribution of assets. There are various types of trusts, each with its benefits and purposes. For NFL players, trusts can be particularly useful for protecting assets, minimizing taxes, and ensuring long-term financial security for themselves and their loved ones.

Irrevocable Trusts

Irrevocable trusts are permanent and cannot be changed once established. They offer numerous benefits, such as asset protection from creditors and potential lawsuits, as well as minimizing estate and gift taxes. These advantages make irrevocable trusts a popular choice for NFL players seeking long-term asset protection.

Power of Attorney

A ower of attorney is a legal document that grants a designated individual (the "agent") the authority to make financial and legal decisions on behalf of another person (the "principal"). For NFL players, having a trusted agent in place is essential in case they become incapacitated due to illness or injury, ensuring their financial and legal affairs are managed according to their best interests.

Table 1: Estate Planning Tools for NFL Players

Tool Description Benefits for NFL Players


A legal document outlining asset distribution upon death.

Ensures wealth is allocated as per wishes.


Legal entities holding assets for beneficiaries. Various types exist, each with distinct purposes.

Protects assets, offers flexibility.

Revocable Trust

A trust that can be altered or terminated during the grantor's lifetime.

Flexibility in management; can be converted to irrevocable for protection.

Irrevocable Trust

Permanent trusts that can't be changed once established.

Protects assets from lawsuits; minimizes estate/gift taxes.

Power of Attorney

Legal documentation allowing a chosen individual to make financial/legal decisions if the principal becomes incapacitated.

Ensures continued management of affairs during incapacitation.

Tax Planning

Strategies to handle complex tax issues due to high income, endorsement deals, and unique career situations.

Minimizes tax liabilities; maximizes wealth preservation.

Living Will

A document that outlines an individual's preferences regarding end-of-life medical treatments.

Provides clarity on medical decisions if incapacitated.

Healthcare Proxy

A legal document where an individual designates another person to make healthcare decisions if they're unable to do so.

Ensures trusted individual makes health decisions during incapacitation.

Tax Planning Considerations for NFL Players

NFL players often face complex tax issues due to their high income, endorsement deals, and unique career circumstances. Estate planning for NFL players should also address tax planning, minimizing potential tax liabilities and maximizing wealth preservation.

Gift and Estate Taxes

Estate and gift taxes can significantly impact the distribution of an NFL player's wealth upon their death. Proper estate planning can help minimize these taxes, ensuring that more of their assets are passed on to their loved ones.

Income Tax Planning

NFL players may have diverse sources of income, such as signing bonuses, endorsement deals, and investments. Effective income tax planning can help minimize their tax liabilities, allowing them to retain more of their hard-earned money.

Athlete-Specific Philanthropy and Charitable Giving

Many NFL players are committed to giving back to their communities through charitable donations and philanthropic efforts. Estate planning can help incorporate these values into their overall wealth management strategy by establishing charitable trusts, donor-advised funds, or creating a private foundation. Working with an experienced attorney can ensure that these charitable goals are met in a tax-efficient manner while maximizing the impact of their generosity.

Business and Investment Planning for NFL Players

Given the short duration of an NFL player's career, it's essential to have a solid investment and business strategy in place to ensure long-term financial stability. Estate planning can help players protect their investments and businesses from potential liabilities and facilitate the smooth transfer of these assets to their loved ones or business partners in the future.

Business Succession Planning

For NFL players who own businesses, having a well-thought-out succession plan is essential. This involves determining how their business interests will be managed or transferred upon their death or incapacity. An estate planning attorney can help create a detailed succession plan, considering tax implications, potential disputes, and the long-term viability of the business.

Legacy Planning for NFL Players

Legacy planning goes beyond traditional estate planning to focus on the long-term impact of an NFL player's wealth, values, and life experiences. This may involve creating a family mission statement, establishing a family office, or engaging in impact investing. A comprehensive estate plan can help players pass on not only their financial wealth but also their values, experiences, and the lessons they've learned throughout their careers.

Contact an Estate Planning Attorney for NFL Players

If you're an NFL player seeking guidance on estate planning, contact Heritage Law Office's experienced attorneys. We understand the unique challenges and opportunities faced by professional athletes and are dedicated to providing personalized estate planning solutions tailored to your specific needs. Contact us either online or at 414-253-8500 to schedule a free consultation and secure your financial future today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Why is estate planning particularly crucial for NFL players?

NFL players, on average, have a shorter career span compared to many other professionals, with the average career lasting about 3.3 years. During this time, they earn a substantial amount of money. Estate planning is essential to ensure this income is protected and managed efficiently, providing financial security throughout their life. Additionally, due to their high-profile nature, they might face unique risks like potential lawsuits, which further underscores the importance of estate planning.

2. What are the primary tools in estate planning for NFL players?

The central tools include Wills, various types of Trusts (like Irrevocable Trusts), Power of Attorney, and tax planning considerations. A Will ensures the distribution of assets as per the individual's wishes after their demise. Trusts offer increased control over asset distribution while also providing protection from potential liabilities. Power of Attorney is vital in case a player becomes incapacitated, allowing a trusted individual to make decisions on their behalf.

3. How do NFL players manage their high tax liabilities through estate planning?

Given their substantial income, endorsement deals, and unique career circumstances, NFL players face complex tax situations. Estate planning helps minimize potential tax liabilities through tools like income tax planning, which ensures they retain more of their earnings. Players can also manage gift and estate taxes, ensuring more assets are passed on to their beneficiaries without hefty tax burdens.

4. How can estate planning facilitate philanthropic efforts of NFL players?

Many NFL players engage in philanthropic activities and wish to give back to their communities. Through estate planning, they can establish charitable trusts, donor-advised funds, or even set up a private foundation. These tools allow players to incorporate their charitable values into their overall wealth management strategy, ensuring their acts of generosity have a lasting and efficient impact.

5. What is the significance of legacy planning for NFL players?

Legacy planning focuses on the long-term influence of an NFL player's wealth, values, and experiences. It extends beyond financial assets to include imparting values, life lessons, and personal experiences. Through legacy planning, NFL players can establish family mission statements, set up family offices, or delve into impact investing, ensuring their legacy lasts for generations and is not limited to monetary inheritance.

Contact Us Today

For a comprehensive plan that will meet your needs or the needs of a loved one, contact us today. Located in Downtown Milwaukee, we serve Milwaukee County, surrounding communities, and to clients across Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, and California.