Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Duke of Windor’s Will to Be Unsealed at Last, but Only So The Crown’s Writers Can Get Their Facts Straight

Db6b38f8d678d789bb49ceeaea687773The Duke of Windsor, once called King Edward VIII, abdicated his throne in 1936 to marry an American divorcee, Wallis Simpson. His voluntary relinquishment of the throne, a singular instance in British history, sent shockwaves through the island nation. The Duke passed away in 1972 with a will. Sir George Baker, then-President of the Family Division of the High Court, ordered the will sealed. Sir James Munby, the current President of the Family Division of the High Court, ordered the will’s seal broken in order to provide a member of the Queen’s archivists a copy of the will. This shift in precedent is borne of a need to identify the beneficiary to the Duke’s copyrights. Writers of The Crown, a biographical drama series, want to use the Duke’s letters in their program and need to identify the current holder of the copyrighted materials to do so.

See Fiona Parker, Duke of Windor’s Will to Be Unsealed at Last, but Only So The Crown’s Writers Can Get Their Facts Straight, DailyMail.com, November 15, 2017.

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

November 16, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Television, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Like ‘Car Talk,’ but with Dead People

24WIP2-master768-v2Brothers Vincent and Robert Gardino share an avid love for history and celebrity. This alone is not unusual, but the manner in which the brothers express their passion is quite unique. Vincent and Robert take trips through cemeteries seeking out the headstones of long-forgotten celebrities and politicians. Their comical banter solicited encouragement by close friends to start a show. So, they did just that. The pair is now financing a television series that follows them as they visit gravesites and delve into the history of the deceased. PBS has offered to pick up the series once it is completed.

See Helene Stapinski, Like ‘Car Talk,’ but with Dead People, The New York Times, September 21, 2017.

Special thanks to Ken Coughlin for bringing this article to my attention.

October 3, 2017 in Estate Planning - Generally, Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 22, 2017

Frank Vincent's Body Cremated for Presentation at Memorial Service

0915-frank-vincent-getty-7Frank Vincent, a star of “The Sopranos” and “Goodfellas”, died last Wednesday during open-heart surgery due to complications. The body was transported to a funeral home in Montclair, New Jersey where it was cremated. The memorial service will feature Vincent’s ashes in an urn surrounded by phots of the actor at various stages of his life.

See Frank Vincent's Body Cremated for Presentation at Memorial Service, TMZ, September 15, 2017.

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

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Judge THROWS OUT Lawsuit Filed by Sofia Vergara's Own Embryos As Part of Her Ex-Fiancée’s Legal Battle over Frozen Eggs That He Named Emma and Isabella

VergaraA Louisiana judge dismissed a case filed against Sofia Vergara by her ex-fiancée, Nick Loeb. Loeb and Vergara had two viable embryos frozen while they were dating. Loeb wants to find a surrogate for the embryos, which he has already named. Vergara wants them to remain frozen. Vergara is pointing to the original agreement the couple signed dictating both she and Loeb would need to provide consent for the embryos to be implanted. Whoever wins this legal battle, victory will not be found in the Bayou State. The judge held that the Louisiana court did not have jurisdiction over the embryos as they were conceived in California.

See Kaileen Gaul, Judge THROWS OUT Lawsuit Filed by Sofia Vergara's Own Embryos As Part of Her Ex-Fiancée’s Legal Battle over Frozen Eggs That He Named Emma and Isabella, Daily Mail.com, August 25, 2017.

August 29, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Science, Technology, Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 24, 2017

Tiger Lily Set to Inherit Millions

43ee5dfc074bb33c73a3cc1ff09ca5c7--happy-th-birthday-tiger-liliesRecent speculation indicates the daughter of Paula Yates, an English television actress, and Michael Hutchence, lead singer of INXS, may inherent millions of dollars when she turns twenty-one next week. Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily Hutchence Geldof, known as Tiger Lily, may possibly receive an inheritance through a trust fund set up by her father prior to his suicide.

Geldof’s life weaves a sorrowful tale rife with loss. Geldof’s father took his own life in a hotel in Sydney in 1997. Fewer than three years after her father’s death, Geldof’s mother died from an accidental heroin overdose. In 2014, her half-sister, Peaches, also died from overdosing on heroin.

Despite his fame, Hutchence was rumored to have died penniless. The family he left behind sued his estate, but were stunned to find the estate was worth almost nothing. The family was also flummoxed to discover that Hutchence excluded the publication rights and royalties from music and record sales. Any windfall gained by Geldof would probably stem from these excluded rights her father left behind.

See Stephanie Linning, Michael Hutchence's Daughter Tiger Lily Is Set to 'Inherit Millions' on Her 21st Birthday Next Week Through a Trust Fund Set up By Her INXS Musician Father, Daily Mail.com, July 16, 2017

See Jay Brinker, New Sensation, Jay Brinker Blog, July 20, 2017.

July 24, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Music, Television, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 1, 2017

A New Prince Reality Show?

Reality showPrince’s estate is looking to get in the reality show business, citing this as its reason why it went to war over the release of new Prince music on the anniversary of his death. The reality show is reportedly in the works now, focusing on family members and their lives after Prince’s passing. The estate wants to debut the “Deliverance” album on the new reality show, so the music will hopefully be released sometime in the near future.

See Prince Estate: We’re Holding Back New Music for Our Reality Show!, TMZ, May 1, 2017.

May 1, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Music, Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 27, 2017

"Mary Kills People": New Drama About Assisted Suicide

Dr mary“Mary Kills People” is a new Canadian drama series about euthanasia that will make its debut this Sunday on Lifetime. The main character, Dr. Mary Harris, plays an emergency-room surgeon by day and a dispenser of death to the terminally ill by night. The premise is that these assisted suicide practices are definitely illegal. The series is sure to be unusual and entertaining as the characters map their way through this hot topic.

See Mike Hale, Review: ‘Mary Kills People,’ but It’s for a Good Reason, N.Y. Times, April 21, 2017.

Special thanks to Lewis Saret (Attorney, Washington, D.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.  

April 27, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 9, 2016

Judge Dismisses Sumner Redstone Competency Lawsuit

Sumner redstoneI have previously discussed the competency suit involving Sumner Redstone who is the head of Viacom. Today a Los Angeles Judge tentatively dismissed the mental competency lawsuit that was brought by Mr. Redstone’s former long-time companion Manuela Herzer. In his ruling Judge David J. Cowan said that "[H]ere there is no good cause for further judicial involvement where the Cour has now heard directly from Redstone that he has lost trust in Herzer, does not want her in his life and instead wants his daughter Sahri to look after him if necessary,"…” "[T]he court has no business interfering with his prerogatives." Today’s decision might bring this legal battle over Sumner Redstone’s mental competency to a close.

See Sumner Redstone Judge Tentatively Dismisses Competency Lawsuit, NBC, May 9, 2016.

May 9, 2016 in Current Affairs, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Film, Music, Television, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Captain Kirk Can Take Some Leave, Enterprise In Space-Dock For Repairs

ArticlePictureThe USS Enterprise is a name that evokes strong memories in the minds of many as it's TV adventures inspired generations of people to explore the universe through science and engineering. But the prop that was used for filming the original episodes of Star Trek is now in the caring hands of the restorations department of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum which has restored such historic planes as the Enola Gay and the Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis. The model is need of repairs after decades without proper maintenance combined with the fact that it was originally built to be a temporary model and was never expected to survive for more than a few years.  And there is good news, the team working on the model reports it is in great condition and will be ready to for the 50th anniversary of the airing of the first episode. Once the fix is complete, the model will reside alongside the Spirit of St. Louis and the Apollo 11 capsule; truly distinguished company for the most important fictional vessel of all time.

See Michael E. Ruane, The starship Enterprise is in the shop for repairs, The Chicago Tribune, January 31, 2016.

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

February 4, 2016 in Science, Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Blaster Used By Luke Skywalker In Star Wars Will Be Sold At Auction

Skywalker blasterThe blaster that was used by Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars movie The Empire Strikes Back will be sold at an auction with a minimum starting bid of $200,000. “Mark Hamill who plays Luke Skywalker in the ‘Star Wars’ saga, gave the gun away during an episode of ‘Jim'll Fix It,’ a BBC children's television show, and it was last auctioned by Sotheby's in 1998, according to the auction house.” Sotheby’s will be holding the auction, and if the past is any guide “Star Wars” items should be expected to bring in large sums of money for the auction house. There will probably be even more enthusiasm for this item because of all the current excitement surrounding the new Star Wars movie that was released by Disney.

See Alexandra Gibbs, Luke Skywalker’s ‘Star Wars’ Blaster Goes Up For Auction, NBC News, January 26, 2016.

January 26, 2016 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Film, Television | Permalink | Comments (0)