With rising concerns over the COVID-19 outbreak, "nonessential" services and businesses are being shut down. California residents have also been ordered to "stay home" due to health and safety concerns. This shutdown and period of isolation has led to doubts about the court system remaining open, which is directly affecting a request by Kobe Bryant's wife Vanessa following his death in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26.
According to TMZ, Vanessa is asking for help from the courts in order to get her affairs in order amid the coronavirus outbreak. She recently filed legal documents asking a judge to appoint a guardian ad litem – a lawyer working in the best interests of a child – for her three daughters – Bianka, Natalia, and Capri. The reason for these documents is that she needs to amend Bryant's trust. However, Vanessa has concerns about "court closures caused by the global pandemic" and getting everything done.
TMZ obtained court documents that revealed Bryant had created a trust to provide for Vanessa and his kids back in 2003. The trust was amended several times following the birth of their children. The most recent amendment was in 2017. However, Capri was born nine months ago and had not been included in the trust at the time of Bryant's death.
According to TMZ, the trust agreement allows Vanessa, Natalia, and Bianka to draw from the principal and income in the trust during Vanessa's lifetime. The children will then get the remainder upon her death. The amended agreement would include Capri in that distribution.
A hearing is currently scheduled for next week in order to determine if the guardianship request will be approved. The expectation is that Vanessa will be able to amend the trust to include her daughter, but the coronavirus outbreak could potentially cause issues with the timeline.
Health and safety concerns have resulted in several events being canceled and businesses adapting their approach. Coachella and SXSW were canceled or postponed in early March while state and local governments have ordered all public-facing businesses like bars, gyms and movie theaters to close. Restaurants have also shuttered, though several are still offering customers to order food via delivery, takeout or drive-thru service.
The court system has similarly been affected. New Jersey closed all municipal courts and suspended all trials. Judges in Cleveland are holding mass plea and bail hearings in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus behind bars. Vanessa has concerns of California experiencing similar issues in the court system and is seeking a quick resolution.
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