Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Monday, July 11, 2016

B.B King's Estate Sued for Album Cover Photo

Bb king estateA photographer is claiming in a new lawsuit that B.B. King and Universal Music Group used a series of photos he took for various album covers. The images were used on B.B. King’s albums, dating all the way back to 1971. The photographer is suing B.B. King’s estate and Universal for a portion of the profits they made off the albums.

See B.B. King Photog Tells Estate SNAP, YOU’RE SUED, TMZ, July 11, 2016.

July 11, 2016 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Music, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

New Woman Claims to be Prince's Half-Sister

Prince's siblingsAfter Monday’s court hearing to determine Prince’s heirs, a woman is claiming to be Prince’s half-sister, alleging that his father is not his biological father. Venita Jackson Leverette claims that her and Prince share the same father, a man that was previously in a relationship with Prince’s mother. A DNA test could be permitted, but the Minnesota judge has already determined that this process will be lengthy.

See Chris Spargo, New Woman Stakes Her Claim for Slice of Prince’s $300 Million Estate as she Claims to be His Half-Sister, Alleging the Singer Was Actually the Son of His Mother’s Ex-Boyfriend, Daily Mail, June 28, 2016.

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

June 29, 2016 in Current Events, Intestate Succession, Music, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

No Rush to Determine Prince's Heirs

Prince5The Minnesota judge overseeing Prince’s estate is in no hurry to determine the heirs to Prince’s $300 million fortune. His sister, five half-siblings, and several others have laid claim to a cut of his fortune. On Monday, there was a hearing to decide the methodology for determining heirs, and the judge noted that this could be a long process with potential legal guidance being sought from a higher court.

See Judge in ‘No Hurry’ to Determine Prince’s Heir in $300 Million Estate Case, Fox News, June 27, 2016.

June 28, 2016 in Current Events, Intestate Succession, Music, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 27, 2016

Judge Rules No Media Allowed in Prince's Upcoming Probate Hearing

Prince19The judge overseeing Prince’s estate case will not allow media company attorneys to intervene in the upcoming hearing. He denied the media’s request for the Monday probate hearing to determine inheritance rights but left open the possibility for later access. With suspenseful paternity questions waiting to be addressed, several documents were filed under seal. The balance between the public’s right to access and confidentiality presents several legal questions for the rest of the battle over Prince’s $300 million estate.

See Prince Estate Judge: No Cameras at Monday Hearing, USA Today, June 25, 2016.

June 27, 2016 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Intestate Succession, Music, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Inmate Will Not Share in Prince's $300 Million Estate

Prince33The judge overseeing Prince’s estate is not allowing cameras in an upcoming hearing to determine possible heir claims. According to the law, the media and public may also be banned from the hearing if the court pursues specific paternity matters. We now know, however, that Carlin Williams, an inmate serving eight years for unlawful transportation of a firearm, is not a potential heir after a DNA test came back with a 0% chance of relation. The prisoner will not share in any of Prince’s $300 million estate as paternity questions continue to arise. 

See Prince Is Not the Father of Man Serving Time in Prison According to DNA Results that Bar the Convicted Felon from Inheriting Any Part of $300 Million Estate, Daily Mail, June 22, 2016.

June 23, 2016 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Intestate Succession, Music, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

Michael Jackson's Estate Attempts to Shut Down Media Buzz on Recently Released Police Reports

Michael jacksonMichael Jackson’s estate attempted to shut down the media buzz surrounding a 2003 police report that was released detailing the singer’s pornography collection. The estate worries that this hype is undermining the upcoming anniversary of Jackson’s death. Photos of the investigation into child sexual assault were also released but quickly taken down. The police records, however, reveal Jackson’s alleged pornography collection; however, these records seem to be mixed with misguided information from the Internet.

See Michael Jackson’s Estate Fights Back at Report Detailing Singer’s Creepy Porn Stash, Fox News, June 22, 2016.

June 23, 2016 in Current Events, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Academy Looks to Stop the Sale of Whitney Houston's Emmy Award

Whitney houston emmyEmmy executives are trying to block the sale of Whitney Houston’s 1986 Emmy award, claiming that all winners sign an agreement that requires heirs to release the award back to the Academy in memory of the recipient. Whitney’s estate is trying to sell the award through Heritage Auctions, who has demanded proof of Whitney’s signature on that agreement. Heritage expects to sell the award for upwards of $10,000.

See Whitney Houston Emmy Battle Heading for Court, TMZ, June 22, 2016.

June 22, 2016 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Music, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Will a Significant Tax Bill Take Half of Prince's Estate?

Prince4The trustee for Prince’s estate has revealed that a sizeable tax bill could wind up taking half of his estimated $250 million estate, which could potentially force an early sale of his unreleased music. In order to meet a fee deadline for the tax bill, many of Prince’s non-cash assets will have to be sold. Representations for all parties are working to avoid an inevitable fire sale if the deadline is not met.

See Lindsay Kimble, Taxes Could Wipe Out Half of Prince’s $250 Million Estate and Force Early Sale of His Unreleased Songs, Trustee Says, People, June 8, 2016.

Special thanks to Jim Hartnett (The Hartnett Law Firm) for bringing this Article to my attention.

June 16, 2016 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Intestate Succession, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 13, 2016

Phil Taylor Leaves Nothing to Secret Wife

Phil taylorMotorhead drummer Phil Taylor left nothing in his will to his secret wife. He mentioned her in the will but maintained that they had no contact, starting a short time after their marriage. Shortly before his death, Taylor tried to track her down to finalize a divorce but was unable to find her. He was, however, granted the divorce two weeks before he died, and the will left a bulk of his estate to his sisters.

See Motorhead Drummer Phil Taylor Snubs His ‘Lost’ Wife in His £1 Million Will, Daily Mail, June 11, 2016.

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

June 13, 2016 in Estate Planning - Generally, Music, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Learn from Prince: How Estate Planning Will Benefit You

Prince3Prince had a reputation of being hands on with his legal affairs, but why did he not execute a will? Learning from Prince’s misfortune will allow people to understand the benefits planning for your estate provides.

When you die without a will, your assets will pass through intestate succession, which can become complicated and expensive. Further, if you die intestate, your assets become public, which can be burdensome for celebrities, like Prince. Dying intestate does not allow you to allocate your assets in the best way you feel fit, making it important to plan ahead for your estate. Without a well-executed estate plan, you may just end up like Prince with numerous people fighting over your estate.

See Winnie Sun, 5 Things Prince’s Family, and You, Should Know About Estate Planning, Forbes, May 18, 2016.

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

June 11, 2016 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Intestate Succession, Music, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)