Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Judge Forces Michael Jackson's Ex-Business Partners to Stay Out of His Estate

Michael jackson2A recent ruling has left Michael Jackson’s former business partners without a multi-million dollar slice of Jackson’s estate. Three of the four plaintiffs in the case claim that, in 2006, they met Jackson in a hotel room, where he promised them shares of his company for their loyalty. Because it was only an oral agreement and not a written contract, the plaintiffs ran into huge problems, leaving the judge to ultimately decide that they lacked credibility.

See Michael Jackson Victory for Estate . . . Judge Tells Ex-Biz Partners to Beat It, TMZ, March 27, 2017.

March 28, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Music, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Carrie Fisher & Debbie Reynolds's Public Memorial Draws Hundreds

Memorial serviceCarrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds’s public memorial was held yesterday, consisting of singing, dancing, and memories. The memorial was held at Forest Lawn inside a 1,200-seat theater, which was almost at full capacity. Reynolds’s son, Todd Fisher, led the ceremony, featuring a video tribute, dance performances from Reynolds’s studio, and closing words from Dan Aykroyd.

See Carrie Fisher & Debbie Reynolds: Public Memorial Draws Hundreds to Forest Lawn, TMZ, March 25, 2017.

March 26, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Film, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 20, 2017

Tupac "Dear Mama" Lyrics Go Up for Sale

Tupac dear Tupac wrote out the lyrics to his popular 1995 song, “Dear Mama,” on three sheets of notebook paper, and now, each one of those sheets will cost you $25,000, totaling $75,000, if you want to be the owner of a piece of hip hop history. The lyrics originally came from the studio where Tupac recorded the track; the auction house then acquired them from a private collector. The lyrics the famous rapper wrote down were just as you hear them today with a couple notes he wrote down in the margins, specifically other rappers’ names—perhaps those he intended to feature on the song.

See Tupac ‘Dear Mama’ Lyrics Up for Sale, TMZ, March 20, 2017.

March 20, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Frank Zappa's Children Have Ignited a Family War

ZappaFrank Zappa’s family has recently ignited a legal battle, with his son, Dweezil, claiming that his other two children, Ahmet and Diva, are out to get him. Ahmet and Diva are asking a judge to let them start a website to counter their brother’s claim that they are trying to ruin his career by disallowing him the right to perform his Zappa Plays Zappa (ZPZ) tour. Dweezil has gone on a rant insisting that Ahmet and Diva, who now run Frank’s estate, are prohibiting him from using ZPZ in concert. However, Ahmet and Diva say they have always given him the right to use the name for the reasonable price of $1.  

See Frank Zappa Family War: Dweezil vs. Ahmet and Diva, TMZ, March 13, 2017. 

 

March 14, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 6, 2017

Notorious B.I.G.'s Death Car Can Now Be Yours for $1.5 Million

Big carThe car that Tupac was shot and killed in recently went up for sale, and now, still in close competition, the 1997 GMC Suburban that Notorious B.I.G., Tupac’s longtime rival, was gunned down is going up for sale. The ride has been racking up miles for the past twenty years, and for most of the time, the owners were unaware that they were driving in a piece of music history. The owners bought the car from a broker, who purchased it at an auction. It was not until the LAPD called in 2005 to get information for the wrongful death trial that the owners knew it was a piece of history. The Suburban now has 114,000 miles on it and a bullet hole in the passenger seat belt, which is where B.I.G. was sitting during the attack. The car is being sold for $1.5 million, just like Tupac’s. 

See Notorious B.I.G. Death Ride Up for Sale . . . Move over ‘Pac!, TMZ, March 3, 2017. 

 

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

Friday, March 3, 2017

Katherine Jackson Looking to End Elder Abuse Feud

Katherine jacksonMichael Jackson would be none too pleased to learn that his family has ignited another legal battle after his passing. Trent Jackson, Michael’s cousin, is calling in TJ Jackson, Michael’s nephew, to determine who is the victim and the villain after Katherine Jackson filed a lawsuit against Trent, claiming he committed elder abuse. By calling in TJ, Trent hopes to absolve himself of any wrongdoing, while casting doubt on the motives of other family members, who may be trying to fall closer in line to the matriarch’s bank account. Because Michael cut his siblings and dad out of his will, his estate pays Katherine a monthly stipend, and upon her death, the balance of Michael’s fortune is to be divided amongst his three children and various charities. 

See Katherine Jackson Grandson to Settle Family War, TMZ, March 3, 2017. 

 

 

March 3, 2017 in Current Events, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

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)