Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Monday, November 9, 2020

'Breakfast at Tiffany's' follow-up plans now the subject of a legal dispute with Paramount and Truman Capote estate

Breakfast-at-tiffanys1The initial plans to provide a follow up of Breakfast at Tiffany's have come under scrutiny as the studio will not green light a new project. Apparently, the right to create a sequel, prequel, or tv series has brought on a tense legal battle. 

"According to a complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Wednesday, the issue comes down to ownership of Truman Capote’s 1958 novella that the movie was based on. Before he died, Capote reportedly set up a charitable trust that named Alan Schwartz as the trustee."

When Capote died in 1984, his estate entered into an agreement with Paramount Pictures that allowed the studio "to motion a new project based on the book." However, the agreement placed a time limit on the studio's right to develop a project. The expiration of the time limit would restore the right back to Schwartz. 

The plaintiff in the case claims that the studio no longer has a right over the property other than the profit of the original movie, asserting that the studio missed its window to develop any project related to Breakfast at Tiffany's. Paramount responded by claiming that it still has the rights to the movie because it was under "no obligation to produce a film and spent $300,000 for the right to have that option." 

"Apparently the charity and Paramount have been in negotiations as the former is fielding numerous, potentially lucrative bids to produce something. However, the studio has raised its objections and allegedly will settle for nothing short of a motion picture. As a result of that and the legal dispute, all negotiations are reportedly stalled." 

See Tyler McCarthy, 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' follow-up plans now the subject of a legal dispute with Paramount and Truman Capote estate, Fox Business, November 5, 2020. 

November 9, 2020 in Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Film, New Cases, Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 1, 2020

President Trump pays tribute to Sean Connery as actor's widow reveals he had dementia: 'It was no life for him'

James Bond actor Sean Connery died at age 90 on October 31. His widow, Micheline Roquebrune revealed that Connery suffered from dementia. 

Roquebrune stated, It was no life for him. . . He was not able to express himself latterly." Roquebrune also stated that Connery died peacefully in his sleep and that's the way he wanted to go. 

Sean Connery's son Jason stated, 

Connery"We are all working at understanding this huge event as it only happened so recently, even though my dad has been unwell for some time,” the younger Connery shared upon news of his father’s death in his sleep while at home in Nassau. "A sad day for all who knew and loved my dad and a sad loss for all people around the world who enjoyed the wonderful gift he had as an actor."

President Donal Trump also paid his respects referring to Connery as a "great actor and an even greater man." Donald Trump also gave Connery credit for helping the President get "the green light" for a development project in Scotland. Although, this claim was refuted as Mirror reported that Connery did support the golf course project, his endorsement was not what got it approved. 

Sean Connery was a great actor and from what it sounds like, a role model man as well. 

See Eric Donnelly, President Trump pays tribute to Sean Connery as actor's widow reveals he had dementia: 'It was no life for him', Yahoo.com, November 1, 2020. 

Special thanks to David S. Luber (Florida Probate Attorney) for bringing this article to my attention.

November 1, 2020 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Estate of late Holocaust survivor sues 'Borat' creators

"The estate of a recently deceased Holocaust survivor filed a lawsuit to keep her interview out of Sacha Baron Cohen’s upcoming “Borat” movie, saying she thought the film was a serious documentary."

Creator of "Borat" approached Judith Dim Evans, who passed away this summer, to talk about the Holocaust. It turns out, Evans agreed to the interview under the impression that "Borat" was a serious documentary and not a comedy. This lead to her estate filing a lawsuit this week in Fulton Superior Court. 

Ms. Evans was reportedly "horrified and upset" to find that the movie was intended to "mock the Holocaust and Jewish culture." 

The estate claims that Ms. Evans would not have agreed to the interview if she had known of the true purpose behind it and nature of the film for which it would be used. 

The estate is seeking for the scene including Evans' interview be removed from the film, as well as damaged less than $75,000. 

See Elizabeth Rosner, Estate of late Holocaust survivor sues 'Borat' creators, Apple News, October 14, 2020. 

Special thanks to Laura Galvan (Attorney, San Antonio, Texas) for bringing this article to my attention.  

October 29, 2020 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, New Cases, Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 23, 2020

Steve Bing worth $300K at time of his death despite $600M inheritance: reports

BingSteve Bing, a film producer and financier, inherited a great fortune from his grandfather, Leo S. Bing, but reportedly was only worth $300,000 at the time of his death. 

When Bing was 18 years old, he was given $600 million, but debt swallowed up a lot of those assets. 

In June, Bing died from suicide at the age of 55. Bing's daughter Kira, was put in charge of Bing's estate. 

Elizabeth Hurley, with whom Bing shared a son, stated, “He was a good man. He gave to so many good causes. . . “He was a philanthropist at heart and when we were together, which was a very long time ago, more than 18 years ago, I loved him very much. So I really hope people will retain fond memories of him.”

Bing was an unselfish man who gave a lot of his fortune to philanthropies. 

See Jessica Napoli, Steve Bing worth $300K at time of his death despite $600M inheritance: reports, Fox News, October 21, 2020. 

October 23, 2020 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 19, 2020

Black Panther Star Chadwick Boseman Died Without A Will

BpAs you may be aware, Chadwick Boseman, the captivating actor that played the roles of Jackie Robinson, Thurgood Marshall, Black Panther, and many more, passed away on August 28, 2020. This death was one of the many heart wrenching deaths we have seen in this tough year. Boseman passed away from colon cancer which he had been dealing with for a few years, unbeknownst to the world, and even his colleagues and producers. 

Chadwick Boseman died intestate, which has been a cause for concern. Boseman's widow has filed for probate in Los Angeles, California. It has been reported that the estimated worth of Boseman's estate is $938,500. As of now, California law will govern the distribution of the estate. 

Under California Law, Boseman's widow, as his surviving spouse, is entitled to inherit the estate. "When a California resident dies with a surviving spouse and no descendants, California law provides that the surviving spouse inherits all community property and separate property."

Boseman's surviving spouse also has priority to serve as administrator of the estate. Priority for this appointment is set out in the California Probate Code. 

See Black Panther Star Chadwick Boseman Died Without A Will, Probate Stars, October 16, 2020.

 

 

October 19, 2020 in Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Intestate Succession, Television | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

The It List: Netflix doc tells the story of youngest person ever to be cryonically frozen, 'Jeopardy!' and 'Wheel of Fortune' return with major changes, Janelle Monáe's time-twisting horror film 'Antebellum' heads to VOD and the best in pop culture. . .

There is a new Netflix documentary out that tells the story of the youngest person to ever be cryonically frozen. The documentary is called, Hope Frozen: A Quest to Live Twice. The documentary focuses on a Thai Buddhist family that decided to cryonically freeze their daughter, who has brain cancer, until medical technology can save her. 

In other "It List" news, the beloved game shows Jeopardy! and the Wheel of Fortune have returned after taking a brief hiatus following COVID-19. In honor of Wheel of Fortune's 38th season, the new minimum that players can win by spinning the bonus wheel is $38,000. 

Also, Antebellum premiers this Friday. The thriller has been described as a film that ties our present to our past. Critics have compared the show to Get Out which was produced in part by Jordan Peele. The show is expected to be a hit social thriller. 

See The It List: Netflix doc tells the story of youngest person ever to be cryonically frozen, 'Jeopardy!' and 'Wheel of Fortune' return with major changes, Janelle Monáe's time-twisting horror film 'Antebellum' heads to VOD and the best in pop culture. . ., Yahoo News, September 14, 2020. 

Special thanks to David S. Luber (Florida Probate Attorney) for bringing this article to my attention.

September 16, 2020 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Technology, Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Millionaire Steve Bing’s Estate At Center Of Paternity and Disinheritance Dispute In California Probate Court

Bing"Steve Bing, a wealthy Hollywood movie investor, committed suicide earlier this year in Los Angeles."

Kira Kerkorian has submitted a DNA test stating that she is Bing's biological child. Bing's will disinherited any children he may have had. Bing also died with a Trust "naming the Clinton Foundation as its sole beneficiary."

Kira retrieved DNA from Bing's body in the morgue. It was first revealed that Bing was Kira's father "in a legal dispute between Kira's mom and her ex-husband, billionaire Kirk Kerkorian." 

According to the California Probate court paternity can be established by clear and convincing evidence.

"Sometimes a child can be considered an omitted child under California law if they were born after the execution of decedent’s testamentary documents.  However, in certain circumstances even an omitted child still receives nothing from the California probate estate. . ." 

In an earlier case, "the California appellate court determined that a general disinheritance clause can defeat an omitted child claim for unknown children born before the execution of a will or trust.  Here, it appears that Kira was in utero at the time that Bing executed the will."

See Millionaire Steve Bing’s Estate At Center Of Paternity and Disinheritance Dispute In California Probate Court, Probate Stars, September 15, 2020. 

September 15, 2020 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Television, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Drew Barrymore confirms rumor that her grandfather's corpse was 'stolen'

Drew'A bizarre rumor spread about Drew Barrymore's grandfather, John Barrymore's corpse. Rumor has it that John's corpse was 'stolen'. 

Drew Barrymore, 45, revealed on the YouTube channel Hot Ones that the rumor was true. Barrymore stated that her grandfather's body was stolen from the morgue in May 1942 by his friends so that they could "all party together one last time". 

According to Barrymore, John's friends took his body and propped it up at a poker table. Barrymore joked as she said, "I hope my friends do the same for me. . .That is the kind of spirit I can get behind. Just prop the old bag up and have a last few rounds."

Drew Barrymore also stated that she would like her friends and family to be happy and celebrate with a party following her passing. Drew was clear that she is not a fan of the "morose sadness."

See Jessica Napoli, Drew Barrymore confirms rumor that her grandfather's corpse was 'stolen', Fox News, August 21, 2020.

 

 

September 2, 2020 in Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Humor, Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Carol Burnett seeks to be guardian of teen grandson

CarolThe 87-year-old comedy legend Carol Burnett and her husband, Brian Miller, are seeking to become legal guardians of Carol's teen grandson. Carol's daughter, Erin, struggles with substance abuse.

Carol stated, “Due to addiction issues and other circumstances that my daughter, Erin Hamilton, has been struggling with impacting her immediate family dynamic, my husband and I have petitioned the court to be appointed legal guardian of my 14-year-old grandson,” 

"Hamilton, a singer, is the youngest of Burnett’s three children, all of them daughters with Burnett’s second husband, TV producer Joe Hamilton."

Carrie Hamilton, another of Burnett's daughters, spoke publicly about her struggles with addiction and her road to her eventual sobriety before her death of cancer in 2002. Carrie Hamilton was 38 when she passed away. 

Burnett and Miller have filed documents in Los Angeles Superior Court to take custody of Dylan, Erin Hamilton's son.

See Carol Burnett seeks to be guardian of teen grandson, AP News, August 20, 2020.

September 1, 2020 in Estate Planning - Generally, Film, Guardianship, Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

'I bequeath all my beauty to my sister... since she has none': That acid quip, aged 9, helped trigger the lifelong feud between Olivia De Havilland - who has died aged 104 - and her sibling Joan Fontaine... a saga greater than Gone With The Wind

OliviaUntil her death, Olivia de Havilland was convinced that she was the greatest star Hollywood ever produced. You may remember De Havilland from her spectacular performance in "the most glorious movie ever made," Gone with The Wind. 

Olivia was known for challenging the "stranglehold that studios had on their stars," which brought on the end of the 'Hollywood System'.

Olivia was very driven. When she was nominated for an Oscar but lost to Hattie McDaniel, she claimed that she "was convinced that there was no God." However, she had great self-confidence and kept on moving forward. She went on to win two Oscars for Best Actress in 1946 and 1949. 

In 1942, Olivia was nominated for the award, but lost to her sister Joan Fontaine, which only fueled the rivalry which had started when the girls were young. In fact, Joan once told a reporter, "I remember not one act of kindness from Olivia all through my childhood. She so hated the idea of having a sibling she wouldn't go near my crib."

One frequently reported story was that at age nine, Olivia was told to compose an imaginary last will and testament as an assignment and wrote, "I bequeath all my beauty to my younger sister, Joan, since she has none." 

When their mother died in 1975, Olivia tried to exclude her sibling from the memorial service. 

Olivia had a life-long competition with her sister, but of course, to her it was no competition. 

See, Christopher Stevens, 'I bequeath all my beauty to my sister... since she has none': That acid quip, aged 9, helped trigger the lifelong feud between Olivia De Havilland - who has died aged 104 - and her sibling Joan Fontaine... a saga greater than Gone With The Wind, Daily Mail (U.K.), July 26, 2020. 

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

July 29, 2020 in Estate Planning - Generally, Film, Humor, Television | Permalink | Comments (0)