Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Time Is Now for Making Your Claim to Be David Bowie's Lovechild

Bowie fortuneIf you think you could be David Bowie’s lovechild, you should make your case now. The lawyers handling the late singer’s affairs have enforced a deadline for claims from those who might be entitled to a piece of his $100 million fortune, placing a notice in the Times newspaper with a hard date of May 4. Bowie only had two children, but he was admittedly promiscuous. Nearly half of his estate was left to his supermodel wife Iman, and the rest was divided between the two children.  

See Mark Wood, Could You Be David Bowie’s Lovechild? Lawyers Say the Deadline Is Looming for Those Who Think They Are Entitled to a Slice of the ‘Incredibly Promiscuous’ Star’s £80MILLION Fortune, February 25, 2017. 

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

 

February 26, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

The BMW that Tupac Was Killed in Can Be Yours for $1.5 Million

Tupac bmwAn auction house is selling the BMW 750IL that Tupac was shot and killed in, and it can be yours for $1.5 million. On that night in 1996, Suge Knight and Tupac were cruising the Vegas strip when the car was ambushed and littered with bullets. Since the shooting, the car has been restored, but the bullet indentations are still visible inside the door panels. The BMW has more than 90,000 miles on it. 

See Tupac Deathmobile for Sale, TMZ, February 26, 2017. 

 

February 26, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 20, 2017

The Michael Jackson Estate Tax Case

JacksonThe executors of Michael Jackson’s estate filed an estate tax return with a value of $7 million, but the IRS issued a deficiency that reported a value of $1.32 billion, further demanding additional estate taxes of $505.1 million coupled with $196.9 million in penalties and interest. As is the problem for many celebrities, valuing Jackson’s name and likeness after his death proved controversial—his estate valued this asset at $2,105 due to his tainted reputation, while the IRS pegged the value at $434 million, as the singer was rehearsing for his comeback tour when he passed. The valuation of a celebrity’s name and likeness at death is not supposed to consider post-death events, but these can inevitably inform a court’s judgment. The Jackson estate did an excellent job of exploiting the late singer’s name and likeness after his death. As the case proceeds, all eyes will certainly be on Jackson’s name and likeness.  

See Michael Jackson Estate Tax Case Moving Forward, Rubin on Tax, February 19, 2017. 

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

 

February 20, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Music, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 13, 2017

Debbie Reynolds's Dance Studio to Open as Museum

Debbie reynolds studioDebbie Reynolds’s Hollywood dance studio, filled with her costume collection and memorabilia, will be turned into a museum. Renovations are underway to make two of the six dance rooms into display rooms, which will house her collection. Some of the items that will be on display include Reynolds’s SAG Life Achievement Award and costumes from “Molly Brown” and “Singin’ in the Rain.” Reynolds originally opened the studio in 1979 with other high-profile names, including Lucille Ball, Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Cher. 

See Debbie Reynolds Dance Studio to Become Museum, TMZ, February 13, 2017. 

 

February 13, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Film, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

David Bowie Wins Five Posthumous Grammy Awards

Bowie grammysThe late David Bowie led the winners’ category at last night’s 59th Annual Grammy Awards, snatching five posthumous awards for his last album, Blackstar. During his lifetime, Bowie had never triumphed at the ceremony, but this year he won in every category he was nominated for—Best Rock Song, Best Rock Performance, Best Alternative Music Album, Best Recording Package, and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical.   

See Jason Chester & Ryan Smith, David Bowie Sweeps the Board with FIVE Posthumous Gongs for Final Album Blackstar at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards, Daily Mail, February 12, 2017. 

 

February 13, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Lawyers Still Battling for Control over Prince's Estate

Prince lawyers2Two lawyers who have been battling for control over Prince’s estate were both denied official roles last month by a judge. Entertainment lawyer L. Londell McMillan and political commentator Van Jones were both close advisers of Prince at different times in his life. The two have managed to ignite a family feud between the late singer’s six known heirs, including issues about the singer’s legacy, a memorial concert, and the lawyers’ conflicts of interest. Prince’s catalog becoming available for the first time on major digital music-streaming services evidences McMillan’s vision for the late singer’s estate. 

See Hannah Karp, Lawyers Battle for Control of Late Pop Star Prince’s Estate, Market Watch, February 11, 2017. 

 

February 12, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Intestate Succession, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 10, 2017

Prince's Songs to Debut on Digital Music Platforms

Prince music unleashPrince’s estate will be bringing one of music’s highest-profile holdouts back to digital music platforms as they gear up to unleash his music catalog. The late singer’s songs are set to return to Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon, among other sites. Warner Music holds the rights to Prince’s hit songs recorded before 1996, and they will be working with the digital music platforms to release those songs. Prince’s estate will auction off the rest of his music, having already received offers in the range of $40–$50 million.      

See Anna Nicolaou, Prince’s Music Catalogue Set for Digital Showcase, Financial Times, February 8, 2017. 

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

 

February 10, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Beyoncé Being Sued by YouTube Star's Estate

BeyonceThe estate of Messy Mya, a YouTube star who passed away in 2010, is suing Beyoncé for sampling Mya’s voice on her hit song “Formation” without permission. The deceased artist’s phrase “I like that” contributed to the reason why Beyoncé has made millions of dollars off the song. Further, the estate claims that they reached out to Beyoncé, but she blew them off. The estate is now suing for more than $20 million in back royalties and other damages.    

See Beyoncé Is Reportedly Being Sued for $20 Million, Twitter, February 8, 2017. 

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

 

February 9, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 6, 2017

The IRS Wants a Piece of Michael Jackson's Growing Estate

BrancaIt has been almost eight years since the King of Pop passed away, and the Michael Jackson Trust is likely worth more than $1 billion, which his children are receiving in disbursements. The IRS, however, is taking Jackson’s executors to court, alleging that $702 million of the inheritance is owed in penalties and back taxes. Under California law, an estate tax filing is supposed to represent a person’s assets on the day they die, which includes a star’s name and likeness. Specifically, the IRS is claiming that Jackson’s likeness had a value of $434 million, whereas his estate claimed it was worth only $2,105 due to his negative coverage in the press. John Branca was the guy responsible for Jackson’s record deals in the thirty-seven years before his death, so it comes as no surprise that he was appointed executor of the late singer’s estate. Branca has been praised for his hand in one of the most remarkable financial and image resurrections in music, grossing the Jackson estate upwards of $500 million after his death. The IRS took notice. Now, Jackson’s personal effects are limbo, creating hardship on his children, but Branca has vowed to not let this IRS feud tarnish his image and his cherished friendship with the King of Pop.  

See Devin Leonard, Michael Jackson Is Worth More than Ever, and the IRS Wants Its Cut, Bloomberg Businessweek, February 1, 2017. 

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

 

February 6, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Music, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, January 29, 2017

David Bowie's Handwritten Lyrics Hit the Auction Block

Jean genieAnyone now days can download David Bowie’s music, but how many can get their hands on his handwritten lyrics? A year after his death, the late singer’s handwritten lyrics to “The Jean Genie” are up for grabs. Not only will the lucky bidder get a piece of music history, but the package also includes pictures from the 1970s and 80s—even one with John Lennon—and a record from Bowie’s recording sessions for “Hunky Dory.” The auctioneer estimates the memorabilia to sell for around $50,000, which sounds about right considering Tupac’s lyric page sold for $40,000.  

See David Bowie: Get His ‘Genie’ Handwriting if Ya Got an Extra $50,000!, TMZ, January 28, 2017. 

 

January 29, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)