As obituary writers and eulogists searched to find the words to praise the late Robert Irsay, owner of the Indianapolis Colts football team, we have to believe that some members of his family were grumbling to themselves about what he's left behind for them to clean up.
We recount it here, not to bad-mouth a man whose name has been "mud" ever since he stripped Baltimore of its beloved Colts, but as a warning to those who've been putting off some estate planning of their own.
Although Michael Chernoff, the Colts' chief financial officer, says that the elder Irsay had a very specific estate plan, his son Jim still faces a 55 percent inheritance tax on a franchise valued (by some experts) at $141 million. The Associated Press reports it may take the Internal Revenue Service years to determine the team's value to the agency's satisfaction.
Another problem: The elder Irsay divorced his wife of 41 years in 1988 and married again. Now his first wife and his son are fighting the second wife, in part to deny her any claim to a 138-acre horse ranch and to get the will probated in Illinois instead of Indiana.