Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Walt Disney's Drafted Will Goes Up for Auction

Walt disneyWalt Disney’s first draft of his last will and testament will be auctioned off for an estimated $60,000. Disney drafted the will in August 1941, which included an interesting breakdown: half of his Disney stock was split between his two children with the other half being put into an employee bonus pool. Disney ultimately drafted two more wills before he died in 1966. 

See Walt Disney Where There’s a Will . . . There’s a Way to Spend $60K!, TMZ, November 24, 2016.

November 24, 2016 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Film, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Marilyn Monroe's Unseen Photos & Grave Marker Hit the Auction Block

Monroe grave markerSeveral of Marilyn Monroe’s unseen photos and grave marker are going up for sale. A total of 550 photos, 150 color slides, and approximately 750 movie stills, publicity photos, lobby cards, and personal home movies throughout her life taken by a super fan from the “Monroe Six” are hitting the auction block at Julien’s Auctions. This Thursday, the blonde icon’s grave marker is also going to auction. The marker is often changed due to bronze oxidation. Last year’s marker sold for $212,500, so this year the bidding starts at $50,000. 

See Erica Tempesta, Rare Unseen Photographs of Mariilyn Monroe Go Up for Sale for $400,000 – as the Icon’s GRAVE Marker Goes Back Under the Hammer, Just One Year After It First Sold at Auction for $212,500, Daily Mail, November 16, 2016.

November 16, 2016 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Film | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 14, 2016

"8 Mile" Director's Will Covers His Partner, Son & Much More

Curtis hanson“8 Mile” director Curtis Hanson passed away in September, and his will not only took care of his longtime partner and son, it also took care of his extended family and movie business. The Oscar winner left most of his estate to his partner and son, setting up a trust for them and several other family members. The estate planning documents do not give exact monetary numbers for the trust, but Hanson had nearly $5 million outside of the trust. His partner is asking to be named the executor of the will with no involvement in his production companies, which will be left up to his producing partner.

See ‘8 Mile’ Director Generous Will Covers His Kid and Many, Many More, TMZ, November 13, 2016.

November 14, 2016 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Film, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Marilyn Monroe's Estate Sues Lingerie Company

Marilyn monroeMarilyn Monroe’s estate is suing a lingerie company that is using the famous blonde bombshell’s picture on their products. Her estate claims that the company is trying to profit off Monroe’s fame, confusing customers into thinking the products are officially licensed. Currently, her estate is suing to stop future sales, collect profits from previous sales, and extinguish all existing merchandise with Monroe’s image.

See Marilyn Monroe Estate Sues Lingerie Line . . . Keep This Blondie Out of Your Panties, TMZ, November 10, 2016.

November 12, 2016 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Film | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 13, 2016

The Current Value Of Michael Jackson’s Estate

New jacksonThe passing of Prince has brought the topic of celebrity estate planning back into public attention.  Celebrity estates can continue to generate revenue long after the person passed away. This column discusses the current value of the Michael Jackson estate.  “As I noted in yesterday's blog post, Michael Jackson's estate is claiming a value of $2,105 ... but the IRS number is in excess of $434 million.”  There is an ongoing dispute between the Michael Jackson estate and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  “Adam Streisand, a probate attorney who has worked with celebrity estates such as those of Ray Charles, Marlon Brando and Marilyn Monroe, thinks the IRS will not successfully point to the post-death earnings of other celebrities as part of the valuation process.”

See Kyle E. Krull, What is Michael Jackson “Worth” These Day$?, The Law Offices of Kyle E. Krull P.A., May 10, 2016.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse for bringing this article to my attention.

May 13, 2016 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Film, Music, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 9, 2016

Judge Dismisses Sumner Redstone Competency Lawsuit

Sumner redstoneI have previously discussed the competency suit involving Sumner Redstone who is the head of Viacom. Today a Los Angeles Judge tentatively dismissed the mental competency lawsuit that was brought by Mr. Redstone’s former long-time companion Manuela Herzer. In his ruling Judge David J. Cowan said that "[H]ere there is no good cause for further judicial involvement where the Cour has now heard directly from Redstone that he has lost trust in Herzer, does not want her in his life and instead wants his daughter Sahri to look after him if necessary,"…” "[T]he court has no business interfering with his prerogatives." Today’s decision might bring this legal battle over Sumner Redstone’s mental competency to a close.

See Sumner Redstone Judge Tentatively Dismisses Competency Lawsuit, NBC, May 9, 2016.

May 9, 2016 in Current Affairs, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Film, Music, Television, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Judge Rules That Sumner Redstone’s Competency Trial Will Remain Open To Public

Sumner redstoneA California judge ruled on Wednesday that the trial over Sumner Redstone’s advance healthcare directive will remain open to the public.  The lawsuit brought by Mr. Redstone’s ex-girlfriend, Manuela Herzer, centers around the 92-year-old billionaire’s mental competency.  Herzer claims that Mr. Redstone lacked the mental capacity to remove her from his advance healthcare directive, and she is asking to be reinstated as the person in charge of the media mogul’s healthcare.  This case is set to be tried on May 6.  Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David Cowan did leave open the possibility that some testimony could still be shielded from the public.  Mr. Redstone’s medical records will have to be carefully examined and the information entered into evidence will be limited. 

See Lisa Richwine, Judge rejects Redstone bid to close part of competency trial, Mediacorp News Group, April 28, 2016.

April 28, 2016 in Current Affairs, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Film, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Auction For Shirley Temple’s Ring Fails

Temple ringA rare 9.54-carat blue diamond ring that once belonged to child actress Shirley Temple has failed to sell at a New York auction this Tuesday.  The predicted sale price of the ring was between $25 and $35 million.  “The Sotheby's auction for the Fancy Deep Blue Diamond ring, purchased by Temple's father for $7,210 in 1940 around the time of the actress' 12th birthday, opened bidding at $19 million and closed at $22 million, which was below the ring's reserve price.”  Sotheby’s released a statement indicating their intention to find a buyer for the ring.  The curly-haired child actress had won legions of fans during the 1930’s.  She passed away in 2014 at the age of 85 having once served as a U.S. ambassador. 

See Shirley Temple’s rare blue diamond ring fails to sell at auction, Reuters, April 19, 2016.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse for bringing this article to my attention.

April 21, 2016 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Film, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Speculation About Michael Douglas Estate Issues

Michael douglassActor Michael Douglas has had many issues in his personal life during the past decade.  This article discusses how many of the situations in his personal life impact his estate.  The 71-year-old actor has had to struggle with cancer and there are concerns that the disease might be coming back.  His second wife Catherine Zeta Jones has dealt with bipolar disorder and his oldest son once went to jail on drug charges.  This article discusses how the Michael Douglas estate would be divided up if he were to pass away.  Planning for celebrity estates can be very difficult, and the problems can be amplified when dealing with a blended family with children from a previous marriage.  This blog has posted extensively about many of the court battles surrounding the Robin Williams estate.  These types of celebrity estates require careful and detailed planning.

See Scott Martin, Michael Douglas “Death or Divorce” Rumors Raise Big Dynastic Questions, Trust Advisor, April 18, 2016.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse for bringing this article to my attention. 

April 20, 2016 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Film, Intestate Succession, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, April 10, 2016

$10 Million Settlement Reached Over Paul Walker’s Tragic Death

Paul walkerThe daughter of Paul Walker has reached a $10.1 million settlement with the estate of the man who crashed the vehicle that her father died in while riding as a passenger.  “Walker was a passenger in a 2005 Porsche Carrera GT driven by Roger Rodas when the car, traveling at speeds of 80 to 93 miles per hour (129 to 150 kilometers per hour), careened into trees and a utility pole in Santa Clarita, northwest of Los Angeles.”  The settlement, which went unnoticed for a period of time because it was filed under “Meadow W,” was reached in November 2014.  The settlement probably covers only a fraction of what Paul Walker would have earned as a major movie star if his life had not tragically ended so soon.  Meadow Walker is Paul Walker’s only child and sole heir. 

See Paul Walker’s Daughter Meadow Reaches $10 Million Crash Settlement, The Huffington Post, April 9, 2016.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse for bringing this article to my attention.

April 10, 2016 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Film, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)