Joe Paterno’s family releases his will

Posted: June 15, 2012

BELLEFONTE, Pa. - In an effort to stem a budding controversy about the formerly sealed last will and testament of Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, his family on Thursday made the will and its single codicil public, and said it would make sure that all future filings are transparent.

On the advice of its attorney, the family had filed a motion to seal the will, and some critics of that decision had questioned the need for such secrecy.

"The request was entirely appropriate and totally consistent with the actions of other prominent individuals," the family said in a statement that accompanied the release of the documents. "The only objective was to preserve a measure of privacy for Sue Paterno, their five children, 17 grandchildren, and other family members."

Now, "in an effort to ensure maximum transparency and eliminate unfounded speculation," the statement said, "the family has decided to make the will publicly available."

The will does not indicate the value of Paterno's estate, but does specify that all tangible personal property passes to his wife, Suzanne Paterno, who is the personal representative of the will, and thereafter to their children in shares to be agreed upon. The documents released by the family include the original seven-page will filed in 1997.

Paterno, the iconic coach widely known as "Joe Pa," started working at Penn State in 1950. His 2011 salary was just over $1 million. He died in January at 85, nearly three months after losing his job as part of the fallout from the Jerry Sandusky child-sexual-abuse allegations.

Sandusky, a former football defensive coordinator who worked for Paterno, is accused of molesting 10 juvenile boys over a 15-year period. He is on trial here this week.

Paterno's 61-year state pension is valued at more than $13 million, according to a statement the family released. In addition, Penn State announced in April that under the terms of Paterno's contract, and despite his firing, it would pay the estate about $3 million in career compensation.

Contact Michael Matza at 215-854-2541 or

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