Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Lauren Bacall Provided for Beloved Pet in Her Will

1940s Lauren BacallFilm Star Lauren Bacall died at age 89, leaving $26.6 million to her three children, minus $10,000. The set aside funds are for the care of her dog Sophie. Though the distributions were made public since they were through her will, Bacall made clear in the document that she wants her diary and personal letters kept private.

See, Lauren Bacall’s Pooch to Inherit 10,000 Dollars From Her Fortune, The Times of India, Aug. 23, 2014.

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

August 25, 2014 in Estate Planning - Generally, Film, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friends and Family Said Goodbye to Robin Williams in Private Ceremony

Robin_WilliamsRobin Williams, who died early last week, was reportedly put to rest through a private ceremony near his home in California. Williams was cremated and his ashes scattered in the San Francisco Bay.

See Jackie Willis, Robin Williams’ Ashes Reportedly Scattered in San Francisco Bay Last Week, Fox News, Aug. 21, 2014.

 

August 22, 2014 in Current Affairs, Death Event Planning, Film | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

What Robin Williams’ Estate Plan Did Right

Robin_WilliamsRobin Williams’ did not have a simple family situation, and his three marriages and children from two of them could not have made his estate planning process easy. However, Williams' seemed to have made the best of his complicated situation. While his life and accomplishments are headline news after his death, his estate planning decisions are not. At least not as much as those of other high profile celebrities', such as Philip Seymour Hoffman, and not as detailed. By relying on trusts instead of a will, Williams has ensured privacy for his family and immediate support for his children since they will not have to navigate the probate process.

See Stephen Lacey, Celebrity Tragedies Shine a Bright Light on Estate Planning, Florida Today, Aug. 18, 2014.

August 20, 2014 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Film, Non-Probate Assets, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Despite Reporting Financial Problems, Robin Williams’ Left Family Provided For

Robin_WilliamsRobin Williams died Monday at age 63, leaving behind his wife, and three children from his two previous marriages. Williams had publically discussed his financial problems in recent years. However, Williams’ careful estate planning may have allowed him to provide for his surviving family members, despite his money trouble in his last years of life. Williams created at least two trusts during his life, one that includes his two California properties, and one of unknown value that name his three children as beneficiaries.

See Danielle Mayoras & Andy Mayoras, What’s Next for Robin Williams’ Family and Estate?, Forbes, Aug. 12, 2014.

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

August 13, 2014 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Film, Non-Probate Assets, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Jackson Estate Center of Documentary

JacksonFilm Producer Edward Bass’s new project turns an investigative eye toward the executors of Michael Jackson’s estate. The documentary titled “Follow the Money” will likely cover the continuing legal battles by the estate, which have resulted in $17 million in legal fees. One such lawsuit the estate is currently involved in is with Bass over a previous movie about Jackson.

 

See Richard Johnson, Jackson Documentary Tangled in Lawsuit, Page Six, July 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.

July 29, 2014 in Current Affairs, Estate Administration, Film | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, July 21, 2014

James Brown’s Estate Hopes for High Movie Sales

James BrownJames Brown’s estate has been through numerous court battles through the years and still faces unresolved legal issues, such as whether he was legally married to Tomi Rae Hynei. Over the years, the estate went from owing $14 million on a loan to having a $2 million cushion. Today, a movie about Brown titled “Get on Up” will premiere at The Apollo Theater and will be released nationally on August 1. The estate hopes to gain significant revenue from the movie, which would come in part from royalties for Brown’s recordings that are featured in the film.

See Joey Holleman, Take a Look Inside James Brown’s Mansion in Beech Island, S.C., Charlotte Observer, July 20, 2014.

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

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

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Avengers Could be in Trouble

AvengersA case that has high stakes for fans of Marvel’s Avengers series may go before the Supreme Court. The heirs of Jack Kirby are attempting to terminate the copyright grant on many Marvel characters. The lower courts have rejected the Kirby heirs’ arguments and now a cert petition is being considered by the Supreme Court. The Court has received many amici curiae briefs in support of granting cert.

See Eriq Gardner, Jack Kirby’s Heirs Get Huge Support in Quest to Bring Marvel Fight to Supreme Court, Hollywood Reporter, June 19, 2014.

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

June 23, 2014 in Estate Planning - Generally, Film, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Houston Estate Considers Another Lawsuit

Whitney HoustonAs I have previously discussed, the estate of Whitney Houston recently sued CPMG Mendham LLC, who bought Houston’s home. Now, the Houston Estate may be filing another lawsuit, this time against the TV network Lifetime. Houston’s family is outraged that Lifetime is planning to produce a TV movie about the life of the late great Whitney Houston. They have big screen dreams for the telling of Houston’s life story and may attempt to block the TV movie with litigation.

See Whitney Houston Lifetime Movie, TMZ, May 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.

May 29, 2014 in Current Affairs, Estate Administration, Film | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, May 16, 2014

Oz Actor’s Estate Quarrel

Wizard of oz

When “Wizard of Oz” actor Mickey Carroll passed away in 2009, Linda Dodge gained power of attorney over Carroll.  As Carroll’s caregiver, Dodge zealously defended her work as she faced claims by Carroll’s nieces and nephews that Dodge manipulated him to distance himself from relatives while she relished in meals, trips, and the benefits of bank withdrawals.  The family filed suit in 2011 and seeks return of up to $500,000. 

While Dodge’s lawyers called multiple witnesses to paint Carroll as a generous man, the plaintiffs’ lawyer told the court that Dodge “wormed her way into the life of Mickey Carroll and started to isolate him from other family members to prey upon his finances.”  Carroll’s friends and family allege that Dodge neglected Carroll and that Carroll was not of sound mind and body.  However, Dodge has insisted Carroll wanted to switch his accountants and insurance agents for convenience, and a $100,000 equity loan on Carroll’s home was his idea.

St. Louis County Circuit Court jurors are expected to begin deliberations today.

See Jennifer Mann, Caregiver’s Role Central in St. Louis County Court Fight Over Wizard of Oz Actor’s Estate, St. Louis Today, May 15, 2014. 

Special thanks to Laura Galvan (Attorney, San Antonio, Texas) for bringing this article to my attention.  

May 16, 2014 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Film | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, May 9, 2014

Rooney's Widow Contesting Will

Mickey-rooney-428-ts300

As I have previously discussed, Mickey Rooney left his modest $18,000 estate to his stepson/caretaker, Mark Rooney.  Jan Rooney, Mickey’s estranged wife, is now filing a challenge against the validity of the will, arguing the will contains “a blatant misstatement” about agreements between her and the actor.  A court filing says Jan signed an agreement waiving all claims to her husband’s estate after they separated in June 2012.

Rooney signed the will just weeks before his death at age 93.  He “intentionally omitted” and disinherited his eight surviving biological children, believing they were financially better off than he was.  Attorney Michael Augustine believes Rooney’s widow is merely seeking public attention with her challenge since there is not much money to fight over.

See Alan Duke, Mickey Rooney’s Widow Contests Late Actor’s Will, CNN, May 9, 2014.

May 9, 2014 in Current Affairs, Estate Administration, Film, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)