Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Monday, June 5, 2017

Death Can Wait

ReinerCarl Reiner’s most recent book is suitably entitled “Too Busy to Die.” The 95-year old comedic legend thanks his vivid dreams as inspiration for his oftentimes zany ideas. Reiner, creator of “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and director of movies like “The Jerk” and “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid,” said in a recent interview that as long as his mind keeps popping, he will keep going. Reiner will be featured in an HBO documentary on Monday, June 5. The show features stereotype-shattering nonagenarians like Reiner and provides a look into the still-vibrant lives of individuals over 90.

See Dan Hyman, For Carl Reiner and His Fellow Nonagenarians, Death Can Wait, New York Times, June 2, 2017.

Special thanks to Lewis Saret (Attorney, Washington, D.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.  

June 5, 2017 in Books, Current Events, Elder Law, Film, Humor | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

For Whom Does the Bell Toll?

DeathFrank Ostaseski has travelled alongside over 1,000 hospice care patients as they have taken the final steps toward the end of life. Despite such a melancholy subject matter, Ostaseski encourages his audiences to learn about death; to sit down and face death to see what it can teach about life. The speech is available as a podcast or video. The content and the unique delivery contain a potent message that stands to shift any audience’s perspective on death and dying.

See Frank Ostaseski, What the Dying Teach the Living, The Long Now Foundation, April 10, 2017.

Special thanks to Joel Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.

May 23, 2017 in Death Event Planning, Film, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Michael Jackson's Estate Poised for Suit

502536-michael-jackson-617-409Both Lifetime and Netflix have soon-to-be-released movies with Michael Jackson as their centerpiece. While it may be unthinkable to release a cinematic depiction of the beloved pop star absent his unique music balancing the soundtrack, the networks would be better off without. Neither program has been officially authorized by Jackson’s estate. Given this, there are attorneys waiting on the sidelines to see if either film uses any unauthorized materials. The estate representatives have not seen the movies as of yet, so no action is currently underway. This circumstance may change by Monday.

See Michael Jackson Estate: Hey, Lifetime & Netflix...Make Your Movies, Just No MJ Tunes, TMZ, May 22, 2017.

May 23, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Film, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Alan Thicke's Sons Go to War

0516-alan-thicke-tanya-callau-tmz-instagram-3Alan Thicke’s sons, Robin and Brennan, believe Thicke’s third wife, Tanya Callau, is attempting to carve out more of his estate than she deserves. The sons are claiming that Callau has threatened to go to the tabloids if she does not receive more than what Thicke left her in his will. As it is, Callau allegedly received 25% of Thicke’s personal assets, 40% of the remaining estate, a $500,000 life insurance policy, and a guarantee that she could remain at the ranch. The sons do not want Callau to receive any additional dispersion and want a judge to enforce the will and prenup.

See Alan Thicke: Sons Go to War with His Wife to Protect the Estate, TMZ, May 16, 2017.

May 17, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Film, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Legal Issues of Dead but In-Demand Actors

Princess fisherWhen Carrie Fisher died, Princess Leia did not have to die with her. Celebrities should be considering legacy planning, or the planning of a celebrity’s public persona, as one aspect of estate planning. This type of planning can be complicated because the laws have not caught up to technology’s ability to posthumously resurrect characters onscreen. Posthumous protections vary by state, so it is important to appoint someone you trust to handle your post-death career.

See Ashley Cullins, Carrie Fisher, ‘Star Wars’ and the Legal Issues of Dead but In-Demand Actors, Hollywood Reporter, May 1, 2017.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.

May 6, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Film, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Marilyn Monroe & Joe DiMaggio's Marriage Certificate Hits the Auction Block

Dimaggio and monroeJoe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe’s marriage certificate is hitting the auction block, but the selling price is not cheap. The auction house expects the winning bid to reach $75,000. The baseball legend and superstar model got married on January 14, 1954 at the height of both their careers. The marriage, however, only lasted nine months because of DiMaggio’s alleged jealousy. You can bid on the iconic item through June 3.

See Joe DiMaggio, Marilyn Monroe Marriage Certificate Hits Auction Block . . . Could Fetch $75K!!, TMZ, May 1, 2017.

May 2, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Film, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Princess Leia Set to Appear in Star Wars Episode IX

Fisher filmCarrie Fisher’s brother has confirmed her appearance as Princess Leia in the upcoming Star Wars Episode IX, which is set to be released three years after the actress’s death. Fisher’s character will appear in the closing chapter of the famous series not via computer-generated image; rather, her brother and daughter have allowed producers to use recently shot footage of her for the film. Fisher’s family hopes her legacy will continue for years to come.

See Ross McDonagh, Carrie Fisher’s Brother Confirms Princess Leia WILL Appear in Star Wars Episode IX . . . Which Will Be Released Three Years After Her Death, Daily Mail, April 7, 2017.

April 8, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Film | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 27, 2017

A 12-Foot Statute of Paul Walker?

Walker statuteRecently, a group of surfers, who idolize Paul Walker, plead the City Council to resurrect a statute of their hero in San Clemente. A freelance journalist, Chad Kroeger, made the touching pitch last Tuesday in hopes of seeing a legend brought to life. The proponents spoke of Walker as a “unifying figure.” The Article contains a video of the surfers’ pitch to City Council.

See Paul Walker Surfer Bros Beg City Council for 12 Foot Statute . . . ‘A Beacon of Headlights’, TMZ, March 27, 2017.

March 27, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Film | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Carrie Fisher & Debbie Reynolds's Public Memorial Draws Hundreds

Memorial serviceCarrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds’s public memorial was held yesterday, consisting of singing, dancing, and memories. The memorial was held at Forest Lawn inside a 1,200-seat theater, which was almost at full capacity. Reynolds’s son, Todd Fisher, led the ceremony, featuring a video tribute, dance performances from Reynolds’s studio, and closing words from Dan Aykroyd.

See Carrie Fisher & Debbie Reynolds: Public Memorial Draws Hundreds to Forest Lawn, TMZ, March 25, 2017.

March 26, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Film, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Marilyn Monroe's Intimate Pictures Hit the Auction Block

MmonroeA substantial collection of photos of the late Marilyn Monroe that chart the icon’s transformation are going up for sale. From a shy Norma Jean Baker to her final moments as a screen siren, more than 100 photos capture her journey. The images include promotional shots from Niagara in 1952, photos from her visit to the Korean troops in 1954, and photos with her husband in 1960. Additionally, there are thirty-three photos of Monroe taken just weeks before the legend’s untimely death. The photos are suspected to sell for $90,000.

See Ekin Karasin, The World’s Last Glimpse of Marilyn: Star’s Final Photoshoot Is Among Trove of Classic Monroe Images Going Up for Auction, Daily Mail, March 21, 2017.

March 22, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Film | Permalink | Comments (0)