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Joe Paterno's Will Sealed From Public, Sparking Interest

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  • Joe Paterno
    (PHOTO: REUTERS/Tim Shaffer)
    Penn State head coach Joe Paterno answers questions during a news conference following a loss to Alabama in their NCAA football game in State College, Pennsylvania, September 10, 2011.
By Emma Koonse, Christian Post Reporter
June 11, 2012|10:15 am

Reports indicate that Joe Paterno's last will and testament was ordered permanently sealed from public view at the unusual request of a family attorney.

The former Penn State football coach died January 22, 2012 at age 85.

Paterno's will, as well as all related court fillings including the judge's order, are sealed, reported The Wilkes-Barre Citizen's Voice. The paper also indicated that Paterno's is the only will sealed in the county in the past 18 months.

It is unknown which judge ordered that the will be sealed.

One lawyer working in estate law in the area, Jerry Chariton, called the move "very strange," reported the Wilkes-Barre paper.

"Would there be reasons why any family would like to preserve confidentiality," asked Chariton. "Sure, but that would be true of lots of people. I don't know what creates any special situation here."

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A spokesperson for the Paterno family, Dan McGinn, said Sunday that sealing the will would hopefully maintain "a measure of privacy" for the family and was "not an unusual request for high-profile individuals," reported the Huffington Post.

"The Paterno family has been totally transparent with respect to Coach Paterno's contract and pension," the spokesperson continued. "Sure Paterno has also reiterated her commitment to support charitable causes connected to Penn State and the State College community. These efforts will continue."

Paterno amassed a Division I record of 409 victories in more than four decades at Penn State. Months ahead of his death, the once-sainted figure at the school was named in a sex scandal case against retired assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. Paterno was accused of covering up Sandusky's crimes.

The will and testament was completed in June 1997 and a file in Feb. 2010 named Paterno's wife Sue as executor.

In early April, the will entered probate, or the legal process for validating the document. Estate attorney Raymond Parker petitioned to keep the matter secret the same day, and four days later, a judge ordered the record sealed.

Other details of the will came from Penn State and the state employees retirement system. On April 19, the university paid Paterno's estate more than $3 million in salary, television and radio revenue sharing, bonuses and death benefits. The university also said it would forgive $350,000 in unspecified outstanding loans and debt incurred by the Paternos.

Additionally, a state retirement system said on May 22 that Paterno left his wife $13.4 million in pension benefits.

At the time, McGinn said that Sue Paterno would give $1.5 million to charity, including $500,000 to the Suzanne Pohland Paterno Catholic Student Faith Center.

 

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