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Season Ticket Transfers and Estate Planning: Football

For many, estate planning includes specific wishes to pass items of sentimental value to specific beneficiaries. For some, this might be a classic car or an heirloom piece of jewelry – but for those who share a passion for a favorite football team with a child or other beneficiary, the ability to pass on season tickets might be one of the most memorable and meaningful components of your plan. The ability to do so varies from program to program.

Detroit Lions

Season ticket accounts are only transferrable with the prior approval of the Ford Field ticket office. Generally, partial transfers or subdividing of accounts will not be approved. Season ticket holders wishing to transfer tickets must contact the ticket office to discuss the proposed transfer. Transfers to individuals and businesses are allowed.

Michigan Wolverines

The official policy of the ticket office is to only allow the transfer of a season ticket holder's account to the holder's surviving spouse upon death of the season ticket holder, though the office may work with other family members in some circumstances.

For those who want to ensure that their tickets are able to be transferred to someone other than a surviving spouse and who are comfortable giving up some control, a lifetime transfer of tickets is an option. Since 2015, the ticket office has allowed season ticket holders to transfer their football season tickets to another person during the month of December. The transfer fee per seat ranges from $80 for end zone tickets to $660 for tickets in the Victors category.

It is important to note that the transfer is permanent, not temporary. The recipient becomes the new season ticket holder for all transferred tickets. Regardless of who pays the transfer fee, priority points for the transfer are awarded to the new season ticket holder and the new season ticket holder is responsible for the cost of the tickets going forward, including the preferred seat contribution (the transfer fee is in addition to, and does not replace, the preferred seat contribution). Notably, season tickets can only be transferred to an individual aged 18 or older, not a business, trust or organization, with a maximum of 8 tickets per account.

Parking and priority points are not transferable. An option for someone who is confident in their transferee's ability and willingness to accept and maintain the tickets, but who also wants to maintain their points for away game and bowl game offerings, would be to retain at least one ticket and transfer the remaining ticket(s). Note that season ticket transfer fees are neither refundable nor revocable, even if the recipient does not actually take the steps necessary to receive the tickets.

Michigan State Spartans

In general, season tickets can only be transferred to the holder's spouse, whether during life or upon death. Requests to transfer the tickets to another individual require special permission from the Spartan Fund Department.

© 2020 Varnum LLPNational Law Review, Volume IX, Number 316


About this Author

Rebecca Wrock Estate Planning Attorney Varnum Law

Rebecca is a member of the Estate Planning Practice Team. She advises clients on all aspects of estate planning and trusts, including probate avoidance, asset protection, special purpose trusts and elder law matters including Medicaid, veterans and special needs planning.

In addition to her law degree, Rebecca holds a Tax LL.M., which allows her to provide an additional level of knowledge critical to estate planning matters. She also has unique focus and experience in planning for companion animals (pet trusts) and has been recognized for her contribution to legal education in this...