Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Friday, September 22, 2017

Bobbi Kristina's Estate Joins Bobby Brown in Suing Over Biopic

BobbiBobbi Kristina’s estate has paired up with Bobby Brown to prevent TV One from releasing a show about Kristina’s life. The estate is arguing that the release would be a violation of Kristina’s right to privacy, despite her passing in 2015. Bobby Brown is alleging that the show is defamatory in that it portrays him as violent and abusive toward his former spouse, Whitney Houston. The estate and Brown are seeking $2 million in damages along with an injunction preventing TV One from airing the show.

See Bobbi Kristina's Estate Joins Bobby Brown in Suing Over Biopic, TMZ, September 12, 2017,

Special thanks to Molly Neace, J.D., for bringing this article to my attention.

September 22, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 7, 2017

EXCLUSIVE: Playboy Cover Girl and Actress Who Played Michael Jackson's Girlfriend in Iconic Thriller Music Video to Sue Singer's Estate for Royalties Following a New 3D Version of the Cult Classic

RayFormer Playboy model Ola Ray, now 57, is probably best known for playing Michael Jackson’s love interest in his 1983 “Thriller” music video. John Landis, the original director, recently premiered a 3D version of the video at the Venice Film Festival. Ray, surprisingly not invited to the event, is now suing Jackson’s estate claiming that she should be compensated for her role in the film. She has already been successful in a prior suit concerning back royalties and has made claims that Jackson promised her 2.5% in royalties for her role in “Thriller”.

Ray’s attorney, Scott Cole, who is also deeply troubled by Ray’s lack of invitation to the exclusive film festival, expressed his genuine shock and outrage: “It's shameful Ms. Ray wasn't invited and welcomed with open arms at the Venice festival. Ms. Ray had a central role in this iconic production. Shutting her out of her full royalties all these years hardly honors the memory of Michael or the spirit of the relevant contracts.”

See Shanti Das, EXCLUSIVE: Playboy Cover Girl and Actress Who Played Michael Jackson's Girlfriend in Iconic Thriller Music Video to Sue Singer's Estate for Royalties Following a New 3D Version of the Cult Classic, DailyMail.com, September 6, 2017.

September 7, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 4, 2017

Prince's Estate: The Battle Continues

PrinceWhen Prince died, his entire music legacy was left to his estate. The world-renowned musician owned the rights to all of his music and he also left behind an entire vault of previously unreleased songs. Prince’s estate looked poised to sell these rights to Universal Music Group (UMG) until the $31 million bargain soured and UMG pulled out. This appeared to be the end of the deal until recently, when a judge appointed a special administrator, Peter Gleekel of Larson King, LLC, to determine if any of the parties to the agreement are legally liable to Prince’s estate for the apparent breach.

See Gary Borofsky, Prince's Estate: The Battle Continues, Forbes, August 23, 2017.

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

September 4, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Prince's Sound Engineer Makes 8-Figure Offer For Massive Music Vault

PrincePrince’s former sound engineer, George Boxill, has allegedly made a $10 million offer to purchase Prince’s entire music vault. This offer is oddly juxtaposed with Boxill’s original claims that Prince gave him the masters and rights to these songs. Boxill has since stated that Prince’s estate has acknowledged these rights in open court. This is in spite of a court-ordered injunction limiting Boxill from releasing all but one song from Prince’s collection.

Prince’s mystical vault of unreleased music has been subject to ongoing litigation and multiple offers for purchase. The state supposedly turned down Boxill’s offer with little consideration. This is not surprising considering Jay-Z’s offer of $40 million and Universal’s now-rescinded offer of $31 million. This fresh incident represents one of many in the ongoing saga concerning Prince’s intestate death and the consequences of passing without a will.

See Prince's Sound Engineer Makes 8-Figure Offer For Massive Music Vault, TMZ, August 24, 2017.

Special thanks to Molly Neace, J.D., for bringing this article to my attention.

August 24, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Music, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Tens of Thousands of Elvis Fans Join Ex-wife Priscilla and Daughter Lisa Marie for Moving Candlelit Vigil at Graceland on the 40-year Anniversary of The King's Death

ElvisElvis’ wife and daughter, Priscilla and Lisa Marie Presley, joined thousands fans at Graceland ranch on Tuesday to mark the 40th anniversary of The King’s death. Fans traveled from all over the world to pay their respects and to take part in the vigil held outside the Graceland mansion. Lisa Marie Presley helped mourners light their candles as they remembered the life and legacy of her father. After their candles were lit, fans were led on a procession through the 13.8-acre estate, where they were able to see the graves of Elvis, his mother, father, and grandmother.

While many were content with the solemn affair, some fans were a bit disconcerted with a novel event that started this year: they were charged a $28.75 fee to attend. Organizers said that increasing attendance has resulted in higher costs for security and other ancillary expenses. This year’s remembrance of Elvis was expected to draw up to 50,000 visitors, which requires a substantial amount of planning and precautionary measures to be taken. But, some fans are not buying the rhetoric. Fred Schwarz, a long-time fan who has attended several vigils said, “I looked forward to going down there this year, and they come up with all this. I don't want to even go to Memphis anymore. The people running that are not Elvis fans. They are in business. Corporations, they want the bottom line.”

See James Wilkinson, Tens of Thousands of Elvis Fans Join Ex-wife Priscilla and Daughter Lisa Marie for Moving Candlelit Vigil at Graceland on the 40-year Anniversary of The King's Death, Daily Mail.com, August 16, 2017.

Special thanks to Molly Neace, J.D., for bringing this article to my attention.

August 19, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 18, 2017

Glen Campbell, Whose Hit Songs Bridged Country and Pop, Dies at 81

GlenGlen Campbell, the country musician known famously for songs like “Rhinestone Cowboy” and “Gentle on my Mind”, passed away Tuesday at the age of 81. Campbell’s publicist attributed his death to Alzheimer’s, from which he had been suffering for a number of years. Campbell publicly revealed his Alzheimer’s diagnosis in June 2011. He and his wife, Kimberly Campbell, wanted his fans to be aware of the issue in case he appeared disoriented during his farewell tour.

The tour, initially intended to span a short 5 weeks, ended up lasting for 15 months and saw Campbell perform at over 151 shows. The final performance on the tour was in Napa, California, toward the end of 2012. By 2014, the disease had progressed to the point that Campbell had to be moved to a long-term care center.

See Michael Pollack, Glen Campbell, Whose Hit Songs Bridged Country and Pop, Dies at 81, The New York Times, August 8, 2017.

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

August 18, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Britney Spears is Drafting a New Will to Protect Her Kids

Britney-spears-2001Britney Spears has elected to redraft her will in order to better benefit her two boys. Her current will leaves her entire estate to Sean, 11, and Jayden, 10. The issue with the will is that it leaves her fortune to her children when they turn 18. Spears has decided that leaving millions of dollars to teenagers may not be the best course of action and has instead chosen to place her assets into a trust upon her demise. The trust would limit her children’s access to monies based on their age. This arrangement also helps the estate avoid inheritance taxes it would otherwise owe.

See Britney Spears is Drafting a New Will to Protect Her Kids, TMZ, August 16, 2017.

August 18, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Music, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Tupac's Hummer Back On Auction Block After High Bidder Flakes

H1Tupac’s 1996 Hummer went to the auction block in May 2016. An anonymous bidder from Ohio bought the heavily modified H1 for an astounding $337,000. As of yet, efforts to solicit payment have been totally unsuccessful and attempts by the auction house to find the buyer have garnered no response. RR Auctions is relisting the vehicle with an expected sale price closer to $100,000; much nearer the actual value of the SUV.

See Tupac's Hummer Back On Auction Block After High Bidder Flakes, TMZ, August 12, 2017.

August 16, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Chester Bennington Laid to Rest in Private Funeral

0730-chester-bennington-funeral-service-backgrid-sub-4Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington was laid to rest Saturday afternoon at South Coast Botanic Garden. There were a couple hundred people in attendance consisting mostly of family and close friends. A full stage was set up as a means to pay tribute to the deceased singer. The family decided to have a discreet, private funeral as opposed to an open service. Police provided security and guests were required to have a wristband and pass in order to attend. 

See Chester Bennington Laid to Rest in Private Funeral, TMZ, July 30, 2017.

August 1, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Quincy Jones Wins Cut of Michael Jackson's Hits ... $9.4 Million!

0726-quincy-jones-tmz-3Quincy Jones, producer of a number of Michael Jackson’s best-selling albums, won a $9.4 million jury award against MJJ Productions and Sony. The producer accused accountants of falsely characterizing income from record sales in order to avoid paying him royalties. After the verdict, Jones said, “This lawsuit was never about Michael, it was about protecting the integrity of the work we all did in the recording studio. I view it not only as a victory for myself personally, but for artists' rights overall."

See Quincy Jones Wins Cut of Michael Jackson's Hits ... $9.4 Million!, TMZ, July 26, 2017.

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