Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

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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)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Lou Reed’s Executors Request Surprisingly Low Payment

Lou ReedAs I have previously discussed, the estate of Velvet Underground singer Lou Reed has increased to $20 million since his death last year and is now worth $30 million. Compared to executors of other famous estates, Reed’s executors will be paid a small sum for fees, as they are requesting a total of $220,000. In contrast, the executors for Michael Jackson’s estate are being paid 10 percent, which results in a huge sum considering just one business deal of the estate with Sony was for $250 million.

See Bonnie Kraham, Trusts Can Keep an Estate Private, Times-Herald-Record, Aug. 28. 2014.

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

September 2, 2014 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Music, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Plans to Turn Johnny Cash’s Home into Recovery Center for Women

JohnnyCashThe Tennessee residence that was the home of the late Johnny Cash is under new ownership. The new owners, Lakehouse Holdings, LLC, have plans for renovating the home, which include turning it into a recovery home for women that suffer from eating disorders. The plan will be a topic of discussion at a public hearing in September.

See, New Owners of Johnny Cash Estate Plan to Turn Home Into Rehab Facility, WENN, August 1, 2014

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.

August 5, 2014 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Music | 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)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Sting Tells Kids Not to Expect a Large Inheritance

StingSting may have started off with nothing, but he is now worth millions. However, his children will not be getting any of his rock star fortune. Sting wants his children to have to earn their own way like he did and has warned them not to expect a big inheritance or trust funds, as he plans to spend it all.

See Press Association, Sting Says His Six Children Will Not Inherit £180m Fortune, The Guardian, June 22, 2014.

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

June 24, 2014 in Estate Planning - Generally, Music | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Court Battle Over Pendergrass Estate Continues

PendergrassAs I have previously discussed, the son and widow of late singer Teddy Pendergrass are in a continued legal battle over Pendergrass’ estate. The Pendergrass estate is nearly empty, yet his son and widow are fighting over the rights of the potential value of the estate. The battle rages on, with the case resuming in court as of yesterday with Pendergrass’ first wife testifying. The estate battle is focused on which of two conflicting wills are valid, with the main issue being if Pendergrass was able to sign the will that his son contends is the valid will.

See Carolyn Davis, Fight Over Pendergrass Will Continues in Montco, Philly.com, May 13, 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 14, 2014 in Current Affairs, Music, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Belafonte Settles with MLK Estate

Harry Belafonte-3

As I have previously discussed, singer and social activist Harry Belafonte sued the estate of Martin Luther King Jr. after the estate disputed Belafonte’s ownership of three documents associated with the King estate.

Belafonte has reached a confidential settlement with the estate, which will allow him to retain possession of the documents.  The documents include an outline of King’s “Casualties of the War in Vietnam” speech, the undelivered “Memphis Speech,” and a condolence letter from President Lyndon B. Johnson sent to King’s widow.

See Belafonte Keeping King Documents in Court Settlement, South Florida Times, Apr. 17, 2014.

Special thanks to David S. Luber (Florida Probate Attorney) for bringing this article to my attention.

April 21, 2014 in Current Affairs, Estate Administration, Music | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Estate of Rick Nelson Settles Over Digital Downloads


The estate of Rick Nelson recently settled with Capitol Records.  The heirs filed suit in 2011, alleging that the record company was not paying all royalties owed, including those for digital downloads.  The estate’s attorney said all issues have been amicably resolved and that this case could be precedent-setting in the area of digital downloads and streaming.

Nelson is best known for his songs “Travelin’ Man” and “Poor Little Fool” and his role in the television series “Ozzie and Harriet.”  He died in a plane crash in 1985 at the age of 45.

See Ricky Nelson Heirs Reach Settlement with Capitol Records, Beverly Hills Courier, Apr. 8, 2014.

April 11, 2014 in Music, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Is Brandon Howard the Son of Michael Jackson?


Last month, DNA results seemingly confirmed that musician Brandon Howard is the biological son of the late Michael Jackson.  With the legitimacy and accuracy of the results being challenged, new DNA tests are being run that will hopefully produce more conclusive results. 

Brandon Howard (who goes by B Howard) is the son of singer Miki Howard, who was managed by Joe Jackson and was nicknamed “Billie.”  Brandon Howard says that regardless of the results of the DNA tests, he wants to continue his own musical career and will not pursue any portion of the Jackson estate.

See Audrey Palmer, Brandon Howard and Michael Jackson DNA Retested in Public, TV Mix, Apr. 2, 2014.

April 3, 2014 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

"The Organ Donor Song" (The Greatest Gift Of Love)

YoutubeDavid Kawika Crowley, a Hawaiian musician and advocate of increasing organ donor membership, created a beautiful song that expresses the love and life that is shared when a person benefits from an organ donation. Some of the hauntingly beautiful lyrics include,

The greatest gift of love is to leave a part of you behind
As I go I leave you life and a little gift to remember me by
So take this part of me and never forget the reason to live is only to give
It’s time for me to leave so take a part of me and live

Crowley's anthem for the organ donor movement, "The Organ Donor Song" (The Greatest Gift Of Love), is available on YouTube.

April 3, 2014 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)