It’s hard to think of almost anything good that has come out of the scandal at Penn State. When children are abused, it’s never good. Now that Jerry Sandusky has been convicted by a jury of his peers, however, it’s time to ask what we can learn from the scandal. There are certainly a lot of lessons that should be learned by university administrators and athletic departments, but this is an estate planning blog. As it turns out, there is an estate lesson in the scandal too.
If you know anything about the scandal, you have heard the allegations that head football coach knew about Sandusky’s abuse of children and helped to cover it up. Of course, that may not be the case and we might never know what happened as Paterno passed away shortly after the scandal broke. He did not tell his side of the story. However, his family might not have gotten the lesson about keeping things from public consumption as they requested that Paterno’s Will be sealed by the Court. After a media outcry, the family backtracked in a couple of days and released the Will to the public.
As it turns out, there was nothing controversial in the Will and it was originally sealed for privacy reasons. However, the lesson to be learned is that when you hide things from a public that wants to know, you create more speculation than the situation often calls for.