Occasionally estate planning and pro sports overlap, as in the case with the Utah Jazz. By placing the ownership of the Jazz in a legacy trust, the family will retain control of the team for years to come.
Owner Gail Miller has transferred the ownership of the Utah Jazz, an NBA franchise, and the Vivint SmartHome Arena, the team’s home turf, to a legacy trust to make sure that the team remains in the family and in Utah, long after she is gone.
Miller and her late husband Larry purchased 50% of the NBA franchise in 1985, when there was concern that the team would leave town. The Millers purchased the other half of the team a year later. Miller commented that her primary reason for the transfer was to make certain the basketball team remains in Utah. The Jazz moved to Salt Lake City in 1979 from New Orleans.
Associated Press reported in its recent article, “Jazz Ownership transferred to trust,” that Miller explained now she didn’t need to worry about it.
“It's part of a big package of estate planning. But it's one part that's all done and it will last forever as long as we have people who are willing and able to take care of it," she said.
Miller will stay on as the trustee until her death. The trust's board of managers includes six Miller family members: children Greg, Steve, Bryan, and Karen, as well as a grandson, Zane.
Jazz officials think this is the first legacy trust for a professional franchise in any of the four major U.S. leagues.
Dennis Haslam, a former team president and part of the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies board of directors, remarked that they worked with the NBA for a year to finalize the transfer. In addition to keeping the team in the state, there are some tax advantages in the transfer.
Haslam noted that the transfer to the legacy trust creates the potential for the team to stay for hundreds of years in Utah. Given the number of team moves that have been in the news lately, with the Chargers announcing a move to join the Rams in Los Angeles and the Oakland Raiders filing for relocation to Las Vegas, Utah residents and the Miller family can now rest assured that the Jazz will stay put.
Reference: Associated Press (January 23, 2017) “Jazz ownership transferred to trust.”