Saturday, February 15, 2014
Fox Business Network is currently developing a new program set to debut this summer.
Hosted by Tracy Byrnes, Strange Inheritance will explore “real-life stories of unconventional inheritances.” Fox Business hopes this eccentric premise will present a compelling option for a business audience after hours.
See Dunstan Prial, Fox Business to Air New Primetime Program, ‘Strange Inheritance’, Fox Business, Feb. 12, 2014.
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
It is not often that a television series delves into the intricacies of property and inheritance rights, but that is exactly what the fourth season of Downton Abbey has begun to do. The PBS series has millions of viewers, which have recently been introduced to medieval property concepts like fee tail. A "Recent Developments" session at the Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning gave the television drama a shout out.
See Deborah L. Jacobs, Downton Abbey's Plot Twists Spur Lawyers' Debates, Forbes, Jan. 23, 2014.
Friday, January 17, 2014
For hundreds of years, the British had passed down estates and titles from father to son. This precedent was changed when the royal pregnancy was announced last year before knowing the sex of the child. Because of the change to British law, a group of female aristocrats began advocating to apply the principle more broadly. The global TV show Downtown Abbey highlights the old British law and the problems with it when the lord of the estate only has female heirs.
See Ari Shapirio The 'Downton Abbey Law' Would Let British Women Inherit Titles, Jan. 15, 2014.
Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.
Friday, November 8, 2013
Showtime is producing a documentary series called 'Time of Death' that chronicles the last days of a group of Americans with terminal diseases. Death is all over television shows, but the shows do not cover the process of dying or how it impacts loved ones. The series is produced by Magical Elves and claims the show "unflinching, intimate look at remarkable people facing their own mortality.". Magical Elves also produced "Top Chef" and "Project Runway". The co- executive producer explains the show will not only impact viewers but also individuals suffering from terminal illness. "It turns out when you put a camera on someone who is dying, they keep going. It keeps them looking forward, it gives them a distraction from the inevitable," Miggi Hood, a co-executive producer, explains.
See 'Time of Death, ' Showtime Documentary Series, Peers Into The Last Days of the Dying, Huffington Post, Nov. 1, 2013.
Special thanks to Rania Combs (Attorney at Law) for bringing this article to my attention.
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
recent episode of NBC's Parks & Recreation featured a storyline
about several characters writing wills. Check it out and spot the many legal issues. Click here to watch the full
See Parks and Recreation, NBC, 2013.
Special thanks to Elizabeth R. Carter (Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert Law Center) for bringing this to my attention.
Friday, October 25, 2013
As I have previously discussed, the children of Jack Kirby recently sued Marvel, claiming their father died without receiving proper payment for his work. A federal judge upheld Marvel’s copyright claims and the 2nd Circuit affirmed, finding Kirby was an “employee for hire” who worked within the scope of Marvel’s assignments.
The New York City federal Court of Appeals has denied the estate of Jack Kirby a panel rehearing or, in the alternative, a rehearing en banc.
See Hugh Armitage, Jack Kirby Estate Denied Marvel Copyright Appeal, Digital Spy, Oct. 23, 2013.
Sunday, October 6, 2013
For those who have yet to see the Breaking Bad finale stop reading here. During the show, Walter White is trying to protect his assets. He tries to accomplish this goal by breaking into his former partner's home to give him money to create a trust for Walter's son. David Gair authored an article entitled "Breaking Bad and Tax Planning" that delves into the creation of the trust. He points out that the cash's source is illegal, had it not been illegal then White and his wife could have provided their child more than $10 million in tax free and even more with other estate planning tools.
See Kelly Humke, Estate Planning Featured in the Series Finale of Breaking Bad, Wealth Strategies, Oct. 4, 2013.
Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.
Thursday, October 3, 2013
A group of family and friends held a protest outside of Casey Kasem’s Holmby Hills estate in an effort to see the ailing radio legend.
Kasem is 81 and deteriorating due to Parkinson’s disease. His kids, brother, and friends say his wife, Jean, has been preventing them from seeing Kasem for many months. They say she won’t answer phone calls and tells them to go away when they show up at her door. They hope this protest gets the word out so they might say goodbye to a loved one.
See George Pennacchio, Casey Kasem’s Family Feud: Wife Won’t Let Kids, Friends See Him?, KABC, Oct. 1, 2013.
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
For those interested in how missing or unknown heirs are discovered, check out Heir Hunters on BBC One.
This program, already in its seventh series, follows the work of heir hunters, who are “probate detectives looking for distant relatives of people who have died without making a will.”
Special thanks to Dee Wallander (J.D./M.B.A. Candidate, Texas Tech University School of Law, Class of 2015) for bringing this program to my attention.
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
In Marvel Characters, Inc. v. Kirby, the four adult children of Jack Kirby sued Marvel, claiming their father died without receiving proper payment for his work.
Jack Kirby was known as Marvel president Stan Lee’s “best artist,” co-writing such iconic titles as “Spider-man,” “X-Men,” “The Fantastic Four,” and “The Incredible Hulk.” A federal judge upheld Marvel’s copyright claims, finding Kirby had signed an agreement designating him as Marvel’s “employee for hire.”
The 2nd Circuit affirmed, acknowledging Kirby had more creative leeway than most Marvel freelancers but still worked within the scope of Marvel’s assignments. While Kirby may have created his own characters and plot lines, the court found his partnership with Marvel is what induced his creations.
See Lorraine Bailey, Marvel’s Win Against Kirby Heirs Affirmed, Courthouse News Service, Aug. 9, 2013.