Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Murderer’s Family Faces Court Battle Over Inheritance

Beautiful and twistedIt has been six years since businessman Ben Novack Jr. was found brutally murdered in his hotel room in Westchester New York.  The businessman’s wife, Narcy Novack, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for hiring hit men to murder both her husband and her husband’s 86-year-old mother.  The brutal killings were inspiration for the 2015 Lifetime movie “Beautiful & Twisted,” which starred both Rob Lowe and Candice Bergen.  The probate court had initially treated Narcy as having predeceased Ben as stipulated by Florida’s Slayer Statute.  According to Ben’s will the estate would then pass to Narcy’s daughter from a previous marriage as well as her two children.  The businessman’s cousins are now trying to challenge the will in court, alleging that Ben was coerced into altering the will so that her progeny could inherit the estate. 

See Izzy Kapnick, Murderer’s Family Faces Roadblock To Inheritance, Courthouse News Service, August 07, 2015.  

August 12, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Film, Intestate Succession, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 7, 2015

Filmmakers Seek Declaratory Judgment That Buck Rogers Is Public Domain Material

Buck rogersTeam Angry Filmworks is currently seeking a declaratory judgment that the 1928 story “Armageddon 2419 A.D.” about the spaceman Buck Rogers is now part of the public domain.  The Hollywood filmmakers claim that they do not need permission from the creator’s heirs to make a Buck Rogers movie.  The President of Team Angry Filmworks, Don Murphy, claims that “Buck Rogers entered the public domain in the United States in or about 1956 and worldwide in or about 2010.”  The Buck Rogers character was created by Philip Francis Nowlan who wrote for the pulp magazine “Amazing Stories.”  Neither of the descendants’ Louis Greer or the Dille Family Trust has commented on the lawsuit. 

See Mike Heuer, Filmmaker Says Buck Rogers Is Public Domain, Courthouse News Service, August 6, 2015.

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

August 7, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Film | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 29, 2015

Marilyn Monroe’s Grave Marker Sold For $212,500

MonroeThe grave marker of the late celebrity icon Marilyn Monroe was recently sold at the Hollywood Legends auction for $212,500.  Originally, the grave marker from Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Las Angeles was estimated to be worth $2,000-$4,000 dollars.  The auction also sold off other personal items that were attributed to Marilyn Monroe like the dress that she wore in the movie ‘Something’s Gotta Give.’

See Marilyn Monroe’s grave marker sells for $212,500 at Julien’s Auctions ‘Hollywood Legends’ sale, Art Daily, June 29, 2015.  

June 29, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Film | Permalink | Comments (0)

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)