Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Tupac's Estate Threatens Suit Over Sale of Bullet-Dented Pendant

Tupac pendantTupac’s gold and diamond pendant that he was wearing when he was shot in 1994—two years before his death—is up for sale. Moments in Time, a memorabilia dealer, is selling the bullet-dented pendant for $125,000. A Tupac family member gave the company the item to sell in exchange for a majority of the profits. Tupac’s estate, however, is strongly against the sale, stating that no one has authority to sell Tupac’s memorabilia, not even a family member. They are determined to file suit against anyone forking over a Tupac item for sale and anyone purchasing one.  

See Tupac Bullet-Dented Pendant . . . Up for Grabs for $125k!, TMZ, October 16, 2016. 


October 18, 2016 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Heirs May Not Have to be Blood Related to Inherit Some of Prince's Estate

Prince estateIn recent legal developments, potential heirs are finding out that you may not have to be a blood relative to inherit some of Prince’s estate. Because Prince died intestate, his sister and five half-siblings will soon likely be declared as his rightful heirs. A legal wrinkle, however, will force the judge to decide whether a purported niece, grandniece, and nephew should be considered heirs. In Minnesota, there are incidents when someone can be viewed as a parent based on their familial relationship with the child. These potential descendants claim that Prince’s father treated one of Prince’s half-brothers as his son even though he was not his biological father, allowing them to inherit some of Prince’s estate. 

See Steve Karnowski, In Prince Estate Case, Blood Relation Might Be Unnecessary, Twin Cities Pioneer Press, September 29, 2016. 

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



October 1, 2016 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Intestate Succession, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Bowie's Art Collection Previewed Before November Sale

Bowie art collectionOn Monday, David Bowie’s contemporary art collection was previewed at Sotheby’s. This comes ahead of the auction that is set to take place in November. The auction will be selling 350 items worth approximately $13 million to $19.5 million. The sale will be divided into three—two modern and contemporary art sales, and a post-modern Italian design sale. One particular piece by Jean-Michael Basquiat titled, “Air Power,” is estimated at $3.3 million to $4.6 million.  

See David Bowie’s Art Collection Arrives in NY Ahead of November Sale, Reuters, September 26, 2016. 

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


September 28, 2016 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 12, 2016

Tupac's Estate Threatens to Sue Over Sale of Handwritten Lyrics

TupacTupac’s estate is threatening to sue those who are taking advantage of his art and exploiting his memory. On September 13—the 20th anniversary of Tupac’s death—a planned sale for his handwritten lyrics to “Catchin’ Feelings” is set to take place. The estate claims that managers and employees had a sale of Tupac’s personal property after the rapper’s death, but it says that the estate is the rightful owner of all his lyrics and written creations. The auction house, Moments in Time, thinks the estate has no claim and plans to move ahead with the sale.

See Tupac’s Estate Threatens Auctioneer Sell His Lyrics, Buy a Lawsuit, TMZ, September 12, 2016.

September 12, 2016 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Graceland to Run Tours at Paisley Park

Paisley parkElvis Presley’s people are now running tours at Prince’s Paisley Park. Bremer Trust, the bank that manages Prince’s estate, just announced the deal that lets Graceland’s people run public tours starting in October. Some family members are disgruntled about the situation due to Graceland Holdings having previous financial problems. Graceland Holdings will receive 50% of the revenue generated from the new tours.

See Prince Tour Paisley Park Courtesy of Elvis Presley, TMZ, August 24, 2016.

August 25, 2016 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Pills Containing Fentanyl Found at Prince's Estate

Prince6Several of the pills taken from Prince’s estate were counterfeit drugs containing fentanyl, a synthetic opioid more powerful than heroin. Officials say the pills were falsely labeled but are still unsure of how Prince obtained the drugs. Prior to his death, Prince’s tests showed no fentanyl in his system, leading officials to believe he was not a long-time abuser of the drug that caused his fatal overdose.

See Official: Pills Found at Prince’s Estate Contained Fentanyl, Fox News, August 21, 2016.

August 24, 2016 in Current Events, Intestate Succession, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

A Celebrity Estate Manager Explains Profitability After Death

JampolJeff Jampol is a part of the “pop-culture-legacy management business.” He focuses on putting together musicals, anniversary albums, museum exhibits, and iTunes digital box sets for celebrity musicians who have passed away. Jampol and his company acquire entertainment-related intellectual property through a trust fund and oversee and manage the assets. The Article goes on to discuss how Jampol got his starting point and what he has learned when managing celebrities’ estates.

See Steve Knopper, Jeff Jampol — Estate Manager for the Ramones, Doors, Joplin, Otis and More — Explains How Life After Death Can be Profitable, Billboard, August 12, 2016.

Special thanks to Deborah Matthews (Attorney, Alexandria, Virginia) for bringing this article to my attention.  

August 16, 2016 in Estate Planning - Generally, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 12, 2016

Monetizing Images and Intellectual Property of Celebrities

Dead celebsWith the recent deaths of Prince and David Bowie, there is greater focus on the process for monetizing the images and other intellectual property in celebrity estates. Recordings and music publishing are handled by national law while the individual states determine rights of publicity. Specifically, rights of publicity are normally given broad protection but states do vary on the executors’ rights. Accordingly, the monetizing of publicity rights for deceased celebrities requires careful estate planning, including planning for updated technology, identifying the celebrity’s intellectual property, due diligence in marshaling the property, maximizing revenue, and protecting against infringement. Additionally, an adapted estate plan should consider merchandising rights, and whether or not they are signed away through contract. A celebrity’s estate plan can fulfill their dreams of success after they are gone, but it must be done with precise planning.    

See Derek Handova, How Do Estates Monetize Images and Intellectual Property of Dead Celebrities?, IPWatchdog, August 10, 2016.

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

August 12, 2016 in Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Music, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Fans Fight for Glen Campbell and His Children

Glen campbellGlen Campbell, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, claims that his fourth wife will not let their two kids see him. While he is currently residing in a Nashville nursing home, a GoFundMe page was started to raise money for the legal defense of the two children—the page has raised $6,495 out of the $50,000 goal. Despite the passage of “The Glen Campbell/Peter Falk Bill,” which ensures that the no person who has guardianship over a child can deny visitation unless specifically authorized by the court, his wife is withholding the children from seeing him.

See New York Post, Glen Campbell’s Kids Say They Can’t See Their Dad, Fans Raise Money, Fox News, August 8, 2016.

August 9, 2016 in Current Events, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 4, 2016

A New Heir to Prince's Estate?

Prince33Prince’s $300 million estate may now only have a single heir, a man coming forward with DNA proof that he is the son of the musician. If this man’s claim is legitimate, he will inherit the entire estate according to Minnesota law. This man claims that his mother was a singer who performed in the same club as Prince in the 80s.

See Karen Demasters, Heir to Prince’s Estate May Have Been Found, Private Wealth, August 1, 2016.

Special thanks to Rob Robertson (Attorney, Austin, Texas) & Joel Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this Article to my attention.  

August 4, 2016 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Intestate Succession, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)