Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

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)

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Tax Court Rules Against Sumner Redstone In Decades Old Case

Sumner redstoneThe U.S. Tax Court has recently released a decision dealing with a four-decades old dispute. “The core question in Redstone's dispute with the Internal Revenue Service pertains to whether his 1972 transfer of stock to his children was a taxable "gift" or not.” The Tax Court decision can be read here. The Court lets him off the hook for fraud but affirms a tax deficiency of $737,625. This article discusses the history of the decades old case and some of the relations that it had with the Watergate scandal. Sumner Redstone is currently the majority stakeholder in CBS and Viacom.  There is ongoing speculation about what the future of Sumner Redstone's media empire will be.

See Eriq Gardner, Sumner Redstone Loses to IRS in Tax Case Four Decades in the Making, The Hollywood Reporter, December 15, 2015.

December 16, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Film, Television, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Questions About Future Of Viacom And CBS After Sumner Redstone Health Lawsuit

Sumner redstoneI have previously discussed the lawsuit by Manuela Herzer questioning Sumner Redstone’s mental state and his ability to continue to serve as head of Viacom and CBS. Even if this lawsuit is dismissed Mr. Redstone is 92 and there are claims that his health is ailing. There are many questions being asked about what will happen to his $45 billion media empire if he passes away. Issues of succession can often have a tremendous impact on family-run enterprises. This column discusses what will happen to the family trust that controls National Amusements if Sumner Redstone passes away. The future of Viacom and CBS is very important because of the amount of influence that this media company has on society and culture.

See Brent Lang, Analysis: Sumner Redstone health lawsuit puts Viacom, CBS in awkward position, The Boston Herald, December 2, 2015.

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

December 3, 2015 in Current Affairs, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Television, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Lawsuit By Former Girlfriend Alleges That Sumner Redstone Is Unable To Make Decisions

Sumner redstoneA former girlfriend of billionaire Sumner Redstone has filed a lawsuit alleging that the 92-year-old media mogul is mentally impaired and unable to make decisions. The lawsuit questions his ability to continue to oversee Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp., which are the two media companies that Mr. Redstone controls. An attorney for Sumner Redstone has called the lawsuit “meritless” and described it as an “invasion of privacy.” Mr. Redstone is currently estimated to be worth $5.5 billion and much of his wealth is tied up in Viacom and CBS stock. Manuela Herzer was in charge of Redstone's advance healthcare directive until his decision in October to expel her from his home and life. A preliminary hearing on the lawsuit was held Wednesday morning and the sitting judge has set a scheduling conference to be held on Monday.

See Meg James, Billionaire Sumner Redstone unable to make decisions, says lawsuit by ex-girlfriend, The Los Angeles Times, November 25, 2015.

November 25, 2015 in Current Affairs, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Film, Guardianship, Television, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Superman Case Returns To 9th Circuit

Superman-9The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is once again hearing a case dealing with the rights to the “Superman” franchise.  In 2004, Laura Siegel Larson filed a lawsuit over a rights agreement that her father and franchise co-creator Jerome Siegel had entered into with DC Comics and Warner Bros. in 1938.  The 9th circuit court had held in January 2013 that Warner Bros. owned the Superman character and that a letter from a Siegel family attorney was sufficient to show a valid contract.  The issue on the table at this current hearing concerns whether Larson was entitled to a rescission of the agreement.  The 9th Circuit Court panel that is hearing the case has not given any indication about how they intend to rule. 

See Katherine Proctor, ‘Superman’ Rights Fight Returns to 9th Circuit, Courthouse News Service, November 3, 2015.  

November 5, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Film, Television | Permalink | Comments (0)