Yesterday we reported on theWashington Post‘s story about the estate of the  late football great Gene Upshaw being settled on the eve of trial. Today’s Post publishes shocking revelations about the final hours of the life of Mr. Upshaw and the controversy surviving what was offered as his "will".

Apparently, Mr. Upshaw was stricken while on a vacation at Lake Tahoe. A will was hastily drafted while he lay gravely ill in the local hospital but he was observed to have been unconscious on the day of the Will’s execution. His son’s lawsuit claims that , at the hospital, Mr. Upshaw was "sedated and unconscious" and incapable of signing anything. Even though the witnesses attested that he had signed the will in their presence and had requested that they witness the will, there were claims that a family friend had signed the will at the request of Upshaw’s wife.

To make matters even more interesting, the value of the estate was listed as $100,000 even though a later accounting shows its worth at about 20 million!

Of course, in the absence of the contested will, Upshaw would have been intestate and the widow would have been limited to a spousal share of the estate with his children receiving the majority of the estate.

The underlying question here is how does a sixty-something multi-millionaire with three children from two marriages walk the earth without a will and an estate plan? Between the family issues and the tax questions that are inherent in  this fact pattern, this was a legal disaster just waiting for the proper time to apply Murphy’s Law.

Most of us do not have the wealth of assets that blessed Mr. Upshaw but many of us do have the complex family issues which are so much easier to deal with when we make a sensible estate plan which addresses our own situation.  Failure to do so will  only benefit Uncle Sam and the estate bar.