Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Monday, November 9, 2015

John Lennon’s Guitar Sold At Auction For $2.4 Million

Lennon guitarA guitar that was beloved by legendary musician John Lennon has sold for $2.4 million at a recent auction.  John Lennon originally purchased the 1962 J-160E Gibson Acoustic guitar in Liverpool in September 1962 for 161 pounds.  He really loved that guitar and wrote songs on it with Paul McCartney that included “she loves you” and “all my loving.”  The guitar went missing in December 1963 during a Finsbury Park Christmas Show in London, and it was lost for over 50 years only recently resurfacing.  The U.S. auction house Julien’s Auctions claims that the $2.4 million sale shatters world records.  Another item that was sold at the auction was a 24-carat Gold Leaf Piano that was owned by Elvis Presley which sold for $600,000.

See Julien’s Auctions shatters world records; Lennon guitar sells for $2.4 million, Art Daily, November 9, 2015.

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

November 9, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Lil Wayne’s Art Collection Seized To Settle Debt

Lil wayneOn Monday police raided Lil Wayne’s home in Miami to seize part of the rapper’s $30 million art collection to help settle a $2 million debt that he owes to a private jet company.  The rapper had previously lost a civil suit to Signature Group over a $55,000 per month lease for a Gulfstream II jet that he neglected to pay.  Because he did not pay the judgment Signature Group was able to obtain a Court order that permitted authorities to enter the rapper’s home and seize some of his assets.  When police entered his home they were accompanied by an evaluator to help determine what items to seize. 

See Henri Neuendorf, Lil Wayne’s $30 Million Art Collection Seized from His Miami Mansion to Settle $2 Million Debt, Art Net News, November 4, 2015.

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

November 4, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 1, 2015

How To Deal With Intellectual Property In Estate Planning

CopyrightIntellectual property is an umbrella term that can include different aspects of law dealing with things like trademarks, patents, copyrights, and trade secrets.  The United States Constitution gives the federal government exclusive jurisdiction over patent and copyright laws to "promote the progress of science and useful arts."  Any copyright created after the year 1978 is generally good for the life of the author plus 70 years.  It is important to remember that when passing a copyright or patent to an heir the testator should specifically mention it.  Possessing a copyright can give a person the means to control how a work is used.  Owning a patent or copyright can be lucrative and it is essential to make sure the the estate planning for these tools are done right so that the heir can receive the full benefit. 

See Intellectual Property in Estate Planning, Wealth Management, October 29, 2015.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse for bringing this article to my attention.

November 1, 2015 in Estate Planning - Generally, Film, Music, Non-Probate Assets, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Michael Jackson Still The King Of Pop

ArticlePictureA new report has revealed the earning of dead celebrities and shows that Michael Jackson is the king of pop with earning in excess of $100 million. This number puts him ahead of Elvis Presley and Charles Schulz who came in at numbers two and three respectively. Most impressive about Jackson's continued dominance is that he also earned more than any living solo artist is the world beating such perennial music juggernauts as Taylor Swift and Kanye West. These huge earnings have allowed the estate to pay down the massive debts that were racked up by Jackson during his lifetime and will all but guarantee a life of opulent comfort for his three children.

See Sam Creighton, Michael Jackson is world’s top-earning dead celebrity: Singer earned £75m this year to take total since his death to £653m, The Daily Mail, October 27, 2015.

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

October 28, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 12, 2015

Estate Of Jimi Hendrix Sues For Return Of Acoustic Black Widow Guitar

Jimi hendrixThe estate of rock legend Jimi Hendrix is suing a music store owner for the return of the rock stars’ Black Widow Guitar.  The suit claims that Harvey Moltz, owner of Rainbow Guitars, is not the rightful owner of the guitar.  According to Ed McPherson, an attorney for the Hendrix estate, the guitar is estimated to be worth between $750,000 and $1 million.  Moltz claims that he purchased the guitar in good faith as a private seller from a person that purchased it from Sheldon Reynolds, ex-husband of Jimi Hendrix’s adopted sister.  The estate claims that Reynolds stole the guitar and would like the item returned. 

See Jimi Hendrix estate sues for return of guitar worth up to $1m, The Guardian, October 12, 2015.

October 12, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 9, 2015

Heirs Of Santa Clause Song Composer Win Court Case

Santa clausA recent decision by the 2nd U.S. Court of Appeals has held that a share in the copyright of the song “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” will be re-established for the heirs of the song’s composer.  In this case the daughter and granddaughter of John Frederick Coots sued EMI Feist Catalog Inc. in Manhattan federal court claiming that they are entitled to re-establishing their share of copyright ownership.  The court rejected EMI Feist’s claim that it could hold its copyright until 2029.  The family is hoping to be able to receive a songwriter’s royalty cut from its share of the copyright. 

See Larry Neumeister, Appeals Court Rules For Heirs Of Santa Claus Song Composer, Associated Press, October 8, 2015.

October 9, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Sotheby’s Sells The Beatles’ Original Signed Contract For $569,000

The beatlesThe original 1962 contract signed by the four members of the Beatles and their manager Brian Epstein has been sold for $569,000 at Sotheby’s London.  This historical contract helped to launch the Beatles into their legendary status and is considered the most important contract in rock and roll history.  Beatles memorabilia is often a hit at these sorts of auctions.  Valuable items that have been auctioned off in the past include “John Lennon's doodles, manuscriptsletters, and guitar to the wool jacket that Ringo Starr wore in the 1965 film Help!” 

See Sarah Cascone, The Beatles’ Signed Original Contract Fetches $569,000 at Auction, Art Net News, September 29, 2015.

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

Friday, September 11, 2015

Celebrities Should Be Careful When Planning Their Estates

Oscar-statueThis article discusses some of the unique financial situations that wealthy celebrities often find themselves in.  Often times drafting a simple will is not enough when there are vast amounts of assets that are at stake in a probate dispute.  This article provides a few examples of famous deceased celebrities that had bitter estate battles because they did not adequately plan for their death.  In many circumstance celebrities will fail to accurately measure the value of their name and likeness.  There are also many examples of young celebrities who make bad estate planning decisions because they came into wealth so suddenly.  Some of the estate planning tools that young newly rich celebrities should consider using include things like revocable trusts and having prenuptial agreements if they happen to get married.  

See Anthony Greco, Woe The Weak-Willed Celebrity, Private Wealth, September 11, 2015.

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

September 11, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Film, Music, Television, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Estate Planning For Wealthy Celebrities

HollywoodThe unique financial situation that many wealthy actors and musicians face often requires sophisticated advanced planning strategies.  Because of the media spotlight a wealthy celebrities spending habits can become public knowledge.  Celebrities often derive their wealth from many different sources that can include copyrights, trademarks, interests in certain productions, and royalties.  Heirs of celebrities can face many problems if the decedent did not plan properly.  Captive insurance companies can be a useful way to address certain risks with the wealth celebrities generate.  There are many ways a celebrity can structure the terms of their insurance plan in order to obtain certain tax benefits.  It is important for celebrities to work with a high caliber estate planner to develop a plan that fits with their individual needs and circumstances. 

See Russ Alan Prince, Ultra-Wealthy Entertainers Need Specialized Estate And Asset Protection Planning, Forbes, September 9, 2015.

September 10, 2015 in Estate Planning - Generally, Film, Music, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Settlement Reached In Jimi Hendrix Family Dispute

Jimi hendrix2The legal conflict between Jimi Hendrix’s brother, Leon Hendrix, and his adopted sister, Janie Hendrix, has been resolved.  Experience Hendrix, L.L.C., which is controlled by Janie Hendrix, has made a settlement agreement with HendrixLicensing.com, the company that Leon Hendrix is associated with.  Leon and Janie have both been fighting court battles since Jimi Hendrix passed away in 1970 without a Will.  This latest legal battle, which goes back to 2009, involved allegations of trademark infringement.  Janie Hendrix wanted damages from Leon Hendrix and his partner, Andrew Pitsicalis, for the unauthorized sale of merchandise that capitalized on the music legend’s fame. 

See Paul de Barros, Latest Jimi Hendrix family feud resolved in settlement, The Seattle Times, August 13, 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 15, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Intestate Succession, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)