New York Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner Dies

George Steinbrenner, was principal owner and managing partner of the New York Yankees, whose win-at-all-cost attitude turned the team into a billion-dollar sports empire, died July 13th, having just celebrated his 80th birthday on July 4th.  During Steinbrenner’s 37-year ownership from 1973 to his death, the longest in club history, the Yankees earned 7 World Series titles and 11 pennants.  Forbes last year estimated Steinbrenner’s net worth at $1.15 billion. Steinbrenner owned 55% the Yankees’ parent company, which includes the team, the YES Network and the new Yankee Stadium. Value of the Yankees has been estimated at $1.6 billion.  The timing of Steinbrenner’s death will save his family about $500 million in estate taxes.  Full Article

Steinbrenner’s death occurred six months after the federal estate tax of 45%, with a $3.5 million per individual exemption, expired in January. It is scheduled to be renewed in 2011, at 55%, with just a $1 million exemption.  The repeal of the levy was an issue in President Bush’s 2001 tax cuts and became widely debated in Congress as the tax-free year of 2010 loomed.  Surprisingly, legislatures failed to work out a compromise tax rate for 2010.  The result has been a windfall of savings for heirs of the ultra-wealthy who died this year.  This may leave many contemplating a 2010 passing.  For example, on a $5 million estate, the tax consequence of dying a minute after midnight on January 1, 2011 rather than two minutes earlier could be more than $2 million; on a $15 million estate, the difference could be about $8 million.

For questions regarding estate planning, please contact an attorney at the Leeds Morelli & Brown P.C. law firm for a free consultation at 1-888-556-2529 or visit the firm’s website at