Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

How Robin Williams is Protecting His Image After Death

Robin_WilliamsRobin Williams avoided a common problem with celebrity estates by including his publicity rights in his estate planning. Williams transferred his publicity rights to a charitable organization, the Windfall Foundation. This move not only provides protection of how Williams' personal brand is treated after his death, but also avoids the value of his publicity rights being included in his taxable estate.

See Gerard Cukier & Sameena Munir, What Can Robin Williams Teach You About Managing Your Personal Brand?, Music Week, Apr. 22, 2015.

Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.

April 23, 2015 in Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Film | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, April 3, 2015

Lauren Bacall Estate Auction Brings in Millions

BacallA Bonhams auction of possessions from late film star Lauren Bacall, who died at 89-years-old in August, brought in $3.6 million and sold out of all 740 auctioned lots over two days. Items auctioned included art pieces, jewelry, and possessions she inherited from her late husband Humphrey Bogart.

See Madeline McMahon, Hollywood Siren Bacall’s Estate Fetches $3.6 Million at Bonhams, Bloomberg, Apr. 2, 2015.

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

April 3, 2015 in Estate Administration, Film | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Leonard Nimoy Passes Away

Leonard_NimoyAt 83 years  of age, beloved actor Leonard Nimoy has passed away. The actor well known for his role as Star Treks' Mr. Spock passed away Friday from lung disease. Nimoy is survived by his wife and two children. His estate is a estimated to be valued at $45 million.

See William Rameau, Leonard Nimoy Net Worth, Heirs: Star Trek's Mr. Spock Survived by Wife Susan, CHildren Julie and Adam, Breathe Cast, Feb. 27, 2015.

Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.

March 1, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Film, Television | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Actor Bob Hoskins Leaves Entire Estate to Wife

Bob HoskinsThe will of actor Bob Hoskins, who passed away in April at 71-years-old, left his entire estate valued at over £1 Million to his wife of 32 years. Hoskins started his acting career by landing a role on the BBC TV series Pennies From Heaven in 1978, and went on to play roles in nearly 70 films including The Long Good Friday, Mona Lisa and Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

See, Pennies From Heaven . . . Bob Hoskins Leaves £1 Million to Wife of 32 Years Who Helped Him Battle Depression, Daily Mail, Dec. 20, 2014.

December 23, 2014 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Film, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

New Book on Estate Tax and Movies

Art of the Estate Tax ReturnKeith Schiller's new book, Art of the Estate Tax Return, Second Edition-Estate Planning at the Movies, uses films to illustrate estate planning and tax concepts.  Provided below is the description of the book from Bloomberg BNA:

Art of the Estate Tax Return, Second Edition – Estate Planning at the Movies® provides in-depth tax analysis and strategic counsel, while offering the ultimate in readability, by connecting well-known motion pictures to practical estate planning and compliance. These connections create great reminders of significant strategies or law, lending humanity to technical issues, and making the tax law fun. 

Art of the Estate Tax Return will enhance your practice and enable you to potentially save your clients millions of dollars in estate taxes by presenting strategic analysis for preparation, presentation, and post-filing defense and advocacy with tax-saving results.

Underlying the cinematic connections, the author shares his best practice tips from a career of preparing, reviewing, and defending estate tax returns, and his greater than 25 years of teaching experience for tax professionals.

With a Foreword by former IRS Appeals Team Manager John Schooler, and an Afterword by Charles W. Morris, the former IRS Territory Manager, Estate and Gift Tax for the Western United States, Art of the Estate Tax Return unsnares the traps and explores the nuances of law and procedure that enter into the preparation and defense of Form 706, including:

  • Expanded coverage of portability elections
  • Illustrated estate tax returns for 2013
  • Maximizing valuation discounts and deductions
  • Protecting FLPs and FLLCs
  • Securing best appraisal results
  • Tips to avoid audits
  • Pointers on GST reporting
  • Cautions and help for fiduciaries
  • Warnings and opportunities from inconsistencies in the law
  • Strategies for audits and appeals
  • Comprehensive analysis
  • And much more!

November 11, 2014 in Books, Books - For Practitioners, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Film | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Children of Celebrity Photographer Sue Over Documentary

PhotographerAs I have previously discussed, the children of celebrity photographer Bert Stern are fighting over his estate with his widow Shannah Laumeister. Laumeister and Stern were secretly married toward the end of Stern's life. Now Stern's widow, and his children from a previous marriage and grandchildren  are entangled in separate litigation over Laumeister's documentary Bert Stern: Original Madman, which includes images of Stern's family members that they claim violate their image, likeness, and privacy rights. The family is additionally upset by depictions of Stern naked and using drugs. Laumeister is attempting to have the suit dismissed through an anti-SLAPP motion based on First Amendment grounds.

See Eriq Gardner, Celebrity Photographer's Family at War Over 'Bert Stern: Original Madman', The Hollywood Reporter, Oct. 31, 2014.

Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.

November 11, 2014 in Estate Planning - Generally, Film, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Orson Welles Last Film Coming to Theaters

Orson_Welles_1937Before film maker Orson Welles died in 1985 he was in the process of filming The Other Side of the Wind. Royal Road Entertainment, who recently bought the rights to the film intends to complete and show the film. The target release date of the film is on or prior to May 16, 2014.

See Dave McNary, Orson Welles’ Final Film Aiming for Release in 2015, Orlando Sentinel, Oct. 29, 2014.

November 1, 2014 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Administration, Film | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Families of Uncle Buck Actor, Director Opposed to Remake

MovieA remake of Uncle Buck, which starred John Candy and was directed by John Hughes, may be headed to television on ABC. However, the families of the late actor and director have expressed strong opposition to the project. The families have indicated that they do not believe their deceased relatives would appreciate the remake, especially since Hughes did express disapproval of the first remake of Uncle Buck into a series, which was attempted in 1990.

See Angie Han, 'Uncle Buck' TV Series Gets Disapproval of John Hughes and John Candy Families, Slash Film, Oct. 10, 2014.

October 21, 2014 in Estate Administration, Film | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Battle Over Publicity Rights of Deceased 1970s Actress

Edie SedgewickDavid Weisman, producer and director, commenced a lawsuit against Michael Post in 2011 seeking a declaratory judgment that he owned the publicity rights of the late Edie Sedgwick. Sedgwick was in Weisman's film Ciao! Manhattan in in the early 1970s. Weisman licensed images from that film of Sedgwick for the use in Fancy Girl in 2006. Post, who was married to Sedgwick when she died, also claimed that he owned the publicity rights of Sedgwick. Last week, U.S. District Judge George Wu ruled that Weisman owns the image rights for the images of Sedgwick from Ciao! Manhattan due to the contract Sedgwick signed in connection with the film, but did not rule that Weisman owned exclusive publicity rights of Sedgwick.

See Eriq Gardner, Judge Wraps Up Lawsuit Over Images of Andy Warhol Superstar Edie Sedgwick, Hollywood Reporter, Sept. 29, 2014.

October 8, 2014 in Estate Planning - Generally, Film | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Hendrix Movie Released

MovieAs I have previously discussed, John Ridley's biopic of musician Jimi Hendrix experienced a tough start when the Hendrix estate refused to authorize the movie or release the music rights. The film moved ahead with production and Waddy Wachtel provided the vocals for the film. The movie had previous releases over the last year around the world, and 'Jimi: All Is By My Side' was released last week in the U.S. with Andre Benjamin of OutKast playing the role of Hendrix.

See Steven Rae, 'Jimi: All Is By My Side', Hendrix Before the Deluge, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Sept. 26, 2014.

Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.

October 4, 2014 in Current Affairs, Estate Administration, Film | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)