Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

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)

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Netflix sued over 'Enola Holmes' movie for copyright infringement by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle estate

UnknownThe family estate of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator and author of all the Sherlock Holmes stories, is suing Netflix over copyright and trademark infringement for its upcoming movie "Enola Holmes."

The author, writer, and director of the Millie Bobby Brown-led film are also being sued as well as Nancy Springer, the author of "The Enola Holmes Mysteries" book series, on which the move is based. 

In the film, Brown plays Sherlock and Mycroft's younger sister, Enola, who is also a skill detective. The movie is set to premiere in September. 

According to Deadline, the family of the iconic author claims that the "copyright infringement arises from defendants unauthorized copying of original creative expression by [Conan Doyle] in copyrighted  Sherlock Holmes stories."

The suit is claiming that after Conan Doyle's eldest son was killed in WWI, he returned to writing Sherlock Holmes stories but realized "it was no longer enough that the Holmes character was the most brilliant rational and analytical mind. Holmes needed to be human. The character needed to develop human connection and empathy."

After creating the character in 1887, Conan Foyle wrote 56 short stories and four novels about the adventures of Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick Dr. John Watson. 

See Jessica Napoli, Netflix sued over 'Enola Holmes' movie for copyright infringement by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle estate, Fox News, June 25, 2020.

July 9, 2020 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Film, Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Carl Reiner Dead At 98, Rob Likely Financial As Well As Creative Heir

UnknownCarl Reiner, the versatile writer, actor, and director has died at the age of 98. Reiner was the creator of "The Dick Van Dyke Show" and was straight man to Mel Brooks' "200 Year Old Man. In recent years, Reiner was part of the gang in the "Ocean's Eleven" movies starring George Clooney.

Reiner's assistant Judy Nagy said he died on Monday night of natural causes at his home in Beverly Hills, California. Tributes have poured in from Steve Martin, Josh Gadd, Sarah Silverman, Alan Alda, and many more. 

Reiner is the father of actor-director Rob Reiner who starred on "All in the Family" and directed "When Harry Met Sally..." and "The Princess Bride." Besides Rob, Reiner had another son, Lucas, who is also a film director, and a daughter named Sylvia, who is an author. It is safe to say that the Reiners are an extremely talented family. 

It is likely that Rob Reiner will be the financial and creative heir as his father was his "guiding light." 

The creative world, especially the entertainment industry, will miss Carl Reiner dearly. 

See Carl Reiner Dead At 98, Rob Likely Financial As Well As Creative Heir, Wealth Advisor, June 30, 2020. 

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

Friday, June 12, 2020

Netflix And Last Will

C1_1860789_200219162635Although the Tiger King series featured on Netflix has ended, the drama continues. Recently, allegations of fraud, forgery, and undue influence have arisen. Anyone in tune with the latest television trends has heard about the drama surrounding Carole Baskin and the suspicious death of her late husband, Don Lewis. 

Although the show is focused on Joe Exotic's wildlife park, Carole Baskin's personal life has sparked interest in viewers. 

Don Lewis mysteriously disappeared and his body has not been found, however, he was declared dead in 2002. Baskin acquired Lewis' estate following his alleged death. However, Don Lewis' children have alleged various claim regarding the will that left everything to Baskin. Lewis was very wealthy with an estate worth upwards of $10 million. There have been many allegations claiming that Baskin was involved in her late husband's disappearance. 

Recently, Florida’s Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister informed news outlets that he is aware that experts have stated that Lewis’ last will and testament was forged. Lewis’ signature has been questioned, and it is suggested that it is a tracing from his 1991 marriage record.

It is unclear if litigation will result from the recent allegations, however, fans have continued to be intrigued by the new evidentiary developments. 

See Cori A. Robinson, Netflix And Last Will, Above the Law, June 10, 2020. 

Special thanks to Carissa Peterson (Hrbacek Law Firm, Sugar Land, Texas) for bringing this article to my attention.

June 12, 2020 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 5, 2020

Is It Too Late To Challenge The Will of Tiger King Star Carole Baskin’s Missing Husband?

ImageRecent reports state that a Florida sheriff confirmed that the will of Don Lewis, Carole Baskin's missing husband. You probably recognize Carole Baskin from the hit Netflix series Tiger King. WTSP.com reported that the the signature on Lewis' will appears to have been traced from his marriage record and that according to Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister, "the problem was that the statute of limitations had expired for any crime related to the will." 

It seems that the sheriff was referring to any criminal prosecution regarding the will. However, it is not clear whether it is too late to contest the will.

It was also reported that the estate of Carole Baskin's husband was worth up to $10 million and was left to Carole Baskin, while leaving the rest of Lewis' family, even his children, out of the will. A case was opened in Hillsborough County, Florida and a copy of the will was filed, however it is unclear whether the will was actually admitted to probate or who, if anyone, received notice. One thing that is clear, an order was entered determining that Don Lewis was deceased in 2002. 

There are two questions to consider:

(1) Do Don Lewis' heirs have a claim for tortious interference with an expectancy of inheritance in Florida? and

(2) How long does fraud extend the statute of limitations? 

See Is It Too Late To Challenge The Will of Tiger King Star Carole Baskin’s Missing Husband?, Probate Stars, June 3, 2020. 

June 5, 2020 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Television, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 4, 2020

The Tiger King and an Unexpected Lesson on Estate Planning

BaskinHey all you cool cats and kittens! Episode 3 of the recent Netflix hit Tiger King focused on the disappearance of the husband of the protagonist's arch-enemy. Joe Exotic was sentenced to federal prison for animal abuse and his part in a murder-for-hire plot against Carole Baskin. Baskin's former husband, millionaire Don Lewis, disappeared in 1997 and was declared dead in 2002. Though the man had a will and a trust for his children from a prior marriage, the episode insinuated that the documents were fraudulently altered.

According to the documentary, Lewis sought an injunction against Baskin after she allegedly threatened to kill him, possibly even for a second time. The adult children from his prior marriage claim that there was talk of divorce and suggested that Lewis had attempted to arrange his affairs to minimize any entitlement of Baskin when they separated. The episode also claimed that Lewis gave his assistant, Anne McQueen, an envelope that contained his will and power of attorney, naming McQueen as his agent and executor. The assistant also said that Lewis had told her to take the envelope to the police is anything should befall him. Supposedly, Baskin broke into the office and took the documents before presenting a different will and power of attorney to the court, with her as the agent and executor.

This new power of attorney indicated that it was prepared by Baskin and contained an eyebrow raising line: "This durable family power of attorney shall not be affected by any disability or disappearance.” In most jurisdictions, proof of the person’s death, either in the form of a death certificate or court order, is required in order to obtain probate and proceed to administer the estate. McQueen claims that Baskin filed for a court order to declare Lewis death "immediately" after the statutory five year period.

See Peter Askew, Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, Madness and…Lessons About the Law of Estates?, April 1, 2020.

May 4, 2020 in Current Affairs, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Television, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)