Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

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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)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

'Thriller' May Be Coming to a Theater Near You

JacksonAs I have previously discussed, John Landis, director of the music video for Michael Jackson's 'Thriller,' settled his lawsuit with Jackson's estate over unpaid debt in connection to the video in 2012. With litigation over the video complete, Landis has moved forward with his project to re-release 'Thriller' in 3D. The video is expected to hit big screens and DVD next year.

See, Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' to be Released in 3D, News4, Sept. 9, 2014.

October 2, 2014 in Estate Administration, Film, Music | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

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)