Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Friday, October 19, 2018

Murdoch Children May Get up to $2bn Each in 21st Century Fox Sale

MurdochRupert Murdoch’s six children could each receive as much as $2 billion from the sale of his 21st Century Fox global entertainment empire to Disney. Murdoch's family trust owns a 17% interest in Fox, and that totals to a $12 billion to be split among the beneficiaries: Prudence, James, Lachlan, Elisabeth, Grace and Chloe. The last two children are from his ex-wife that he divorced five years ago and they are beneficiaries but have not voting power.

The $12 billion is the maximum the trust could receive, as there is still a hefty tax implication with the sale of the empire. Tax experts believe Murdoch would end up having to accept a “roughly”50/50 mix between cash and Disney shares for the family trust’s holding. This would mean a bill of up to $2 billion and more like a $10bn windfall for the trust and its beneficiaries.

Murdoch and his eldest son, Lachlan, are to continue to work side by side following the Fox sell-off, with the son being the chairman and chief executive of New Fox and Murdoch co-chairman. The youngest son, James, currently 21st Century Fox’s chief executive, had been set for a potential role at Disney following completion of the deal but is instead striking out on his own. It has been rumored that he might take over at Tesla as chairman after Elon Musk steps down next month.

See Mark Sweney, Murdoch Children May Get up to $2bn Each in 21st Century Fox Sale, The Guardian, October 18, 2018.

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

October 19, 2018 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Film, Television, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Stormy Daniels’s Oral Will: Noncupative Wills Make for Risky Estate Planning

Stormy-Daniels-2-300x199Stormy Daniels's recently released memoir, Full Disclosure, was written over a period of 10 years and reveals several facets of the former adult-film stars life. At the forefront is the 2006 encounter with President Donald Trump at Lake Tahoe and the chaos that occurred after her execution of a Non-Disclosure Agreement prior to the 2016 election.

The final chapters of the memoir highlight the tremendous fear Daniels experienced after the Wall Street Journal story featuring the aforementioned Non-Disclosure Agreement and the lawsuit Daniels filed in federal court claiming that the document was invalid. Daniels claimed that she was intimidated by Trump's attorney, Michael Cohen, into signing the agreement as well as being threatened in a Las Vegas parking lot in 2011. By March, 2018, when she filed the suit and was interviewed on CBS's 60 Minutes, Daniels was receiving death threats - on her and her young daughter. This resulted in her having a friend record her directing the disposition of her estate in case any of the threats were carried out.

An oral will, such as a recorded will produced by Stormy Daniels, is known as a nuncupative will and is rarely enforceable, except for some specific exceptions. They are problematic because they raise questions as to authenticity and fraud. Even in our technological era, wills are still required to be signed and witnessed, and the witness are to testify to the person's ability and capacity to execute a will. A document containing a person's original signature must be filed to be entered into probate.

See Cori A. Robinson, Stormy Daniels’s Oral Will: Noncupative Wills Make for Risky Estate Planning, Above the Law, October 9, 2018.

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

October 9, 2018 in Books, Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Television, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 21, 2018

Burt Reynolds Left His Only Son Out of His Will and Created a Trust for Him Instead

BurtquinnBurt Reynolds included a statement in his will stating that his son, Quinn, will not be receiving anything from his will. It read that, when it came to his son, “I intentionally omit him from this, my Last Will and Testament, as I have provided for him during my lifetime in my Declaration of Trust.”

Reynolds died earlier this month at age 82. Quinton, born in 1988, was the adopted son of Reynolds and his ex-wife Loni Anderson. At the time of his death, Reynolds was reportedly worth $5 million.

The will, which was signed in 2011, appoints Reynolds’ niece Nancy Lee Brown Hess as the personal representative of Reynolds’ estate. Hess said in a statement, “My uncle was not just a movie icon; he was a generous, passionate and sensitive man who was dedicated to his family, friends, fans and acting students.” She said that his death was highly unexpected, and that Reynolds "was looking forward to working with Quentin Tarantino (in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) and the amazing cast that was assembled.”

See Emily Zauzmer, Burt Reynolds Left His Only Son Out of His Will and Created a Trust for Him Instead, People, September 18, 2018.

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

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.) for bringing this article to my attention.

September 21, 2018 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Film, Television, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 7, 2018

Burt Reynolds, star of "Smokey and the Bandit," Dead at 82

BurtBurt Reynolds, the acting superstar that first appeared on the silver screen over 5 decades ago, passed away on Thursday, September 6, at the age of 82. His agent, Todd Eisner, said that the "Smokey and the Bandit" star suffered a cardiac arrest. According to a 911 report an ambulance had been called to his estate Thursday.

A Michigan native, Reynolds and his family moved to Florida when he was five. In high school, he showed promise as a football star and even received a scholarship to attend Florida State University. When his athletic career was derailed due to injury, the charismatic Reynolds turned to acting.

An iconic Hollywood sex symbol in front of the camera for a couple decades, Reynolds also tried his directorial hand behind it, and later earned a reputation for philanthropy after founding the Burt Reynolds Institute for Film & Theatre in Florida.

Reynolds is survived by his son, Quinton, and his ex-wife, Loni Anderson.

See David Ariosto & Megan Thomas, Burt Reynolds, "Smokey and the Bandit" Star, Dead at 82, CNN, September 7, 2018.

September 7, 2018 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Richard 'Old Man' Harrison of 'Pawn Stars' Cuts Son, Christopher, Out of His Will

HarrisonRichard 'Old Man' Harrison of the History Channel's Pawn Stars fame passed away last month at the age of 77. His will has now been filed and a 2017 amendment has come to the public light disinheriting his son, Christopher. Before he had amended the document named Harrison's wife, JoAnne, and their three children, Joseph, Rick, and Christopher as beneficiaries. Rick, who opened the Gold & Silver Pawn store with his dad in 1988 and appeared on the History series, appears to have been named as the executor.

“I would like to express my love and affection for Christopher Keith Harrison,” the document reads, “however, for purposes of this Will, I have intentionally and with full knowledge failed to provide for him and his issue.”

Rick issued a statement that, "The family had previously discussed this information and it is a private matter."

See Mariah Haas, Richard 'Old Man' Harrison of 'Pawn Stars' Cuts Son, Christopher, Out of His Will, Fox News, July 17, 2018.

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

Special thanks to Jim Hartnett, Jr. (Dallas, Texas Probate Attorney) for bringing this article to my attention.

July 18, 2018 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Television, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 8, 2018

CLE on Estate Planning Misfires of the Rich and Famous

CLEThe New York City Bar is holding a conference entitled, Estate Planning Misfires of the Rich and Famous, on Wednesday, August 8, at the New York City Bar in New York City. Provided below is a description of the event:

Americans are generally fascinated by celebrities, whether alive or dead. Highly publicized battles regarding the families and estates of celebrities cast a bright spotlight on the importance of proper estate planning. This highly entertaining and informative program will identify the common factors that cause such disputes, and aid attorneys in avoiding family fights for their clients. An expert faculty will discuss the estates planning misfires of Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Bill Davidson, James Gandolfini, Pablo Picasso and Charles Kuralt.

Click Here to View Program Agenda & Faculty

Sponsoring Association Committees:
Estate & Gift Taxation Committee, Evelyn M. Capassakis, Chair
Trusts, Estates & Surrogate's Court Committee, Andrew S. Auchincloss, Chair

CLE Credit:
NY: 3.0 professional practice
NJ: 3.2 general MCLE
CA: 3.0 general MCLE
PA: 2.5 general MCLE

July 8, 2018 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Planning - Generally, Film, Music, Television, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 6, 2018

Anthony Bourdain's Will States he was Worth $1.2 Million, Majority Left to Daughter

AnthonyThe late chef and television personality Anthony Bourdain, 61, has had his will filed in Manhattan this week a month after his suicide in France. Recent "unreliable" reports have whispered that his estate was worth around $16 million, but in 2017 Bourdain himself stated that those were amount were inflated "by at least ten times" According to the documents filed in court, his estate was worth roughly $1.2 millionn, and the bulk of that was left to his 11 year old daughter Airane.

"Bourdain's property includes $425,000 in cash and savings, $35,000 in brokerage accounts, $250,000 in personal property, and $500,000 in 'intangible property including royalties and residuals' according to the documents filed."

The assets left to his young daughter will be placed in trust until she reaches 18, with her mother and Bourdain's estranged wife Ottavia Busia acting as guardian. Bourdain also left Busia his frequent flier miles with instructions to "dispose of [them] in accordance with what [she] believes to have been my wishes."

See Megan Sheets, Anthony Bourdain Leaves Majority of his $1.2 Million Estate - Which was Rumored to by Worth at Least $16 Million - to 11-Year-Old Daughter Ariane as Will is Read Less than One Month After his Suicide, Daily Mail, July 5, 2018; see also Julia Marsh, Anthony Bourdain Worth Only $1.21M at the Time of his Death, Page Six, July 5, 2018.

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

Special thanks to Jim Hartnett (Dallas, Texas Probate Attorney) for bringing this article to my attention.

July 6, 2018 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Food and Drink, Television, Travel, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Michael Jackson Estate Sues Walt Disney Company

MjThe estate of the late Michael Jackson is suing the Walt Disney Company for copyright infringement claiming the company never received permission to use footage and songs by Jackson in their TV special entitled "The Last Days of Michael Jackson." The program premiered last week to an audience of 5.5 million viewers. Disney's lawyers have stated that because the program was a documentary that permission to use the material was not necessary.

The TV special featured the late performer's funeral and his children's emotional statements which the estate says were never licensed for commercial use. Short recordings of the singer's famous songs "Beat It" and "Billie Jean" were also used, and the estate claims it was never approached by the Disney Company to use those songs.

The estate is suing for profits Disney made off the special and other damages.

See Michael Jackson Estate Sues Walt Disney Company, TMZ, May 30, 2018.

May 31, 2018 in Current Affairs, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Music, New Cases, Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Alan Thicke's Widow, Tanya, Wants His Sons to Hand over Her Inheritance Already

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-05-09/f9bcbeab-fbae-4ced-8c5f-6752215379d3.pngAlan Thicke’s widow, Tanya Thicke, is accusing Alan’s sons of recklessly spending their father’s money while squandering away her promised inheritance. Thicke’s sons, Brennan and Robin, are co-trustees of their deceased father’s estate. They are allegedly refusing to divulge information to Tanya as to how they are managing the underlying assets and are possibly robbing her of what she is owed. According to court documents, Brennan and Robin were astonished when Tanya arranged for a monument to be placed at Alan’s burial site. They retaliated by refusing to reimburse the expenses, which Tanya believes she is entitled to receive. In juxtaposition, Robin was reimbursed after throwing an after-funeral bash that cost in excess of $100,000. Adam Streisand, Tanya’s lawyer, believes that the “fact that Tanya still hasn’t received her inheritance is unconscionable.” He also says that she is willing to go to court to handle the issues.

See Alan Thicke's Widow, Tanya, Wants His Sons to Hand over Her Inheritance Already, TMZ, May 9, 2018.

May 9, 2018 in Death Event Planning, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Television, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 23, 2018

'Martin' Star Tisha Campbell-Martin Asks for Spousal Support in Divorce

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-02-23/dd31ad25-83d4-4bb0-9bf5-571ab37eeb4b.pngTisha Campbell-Martin, star of the television series "Martin," filed for divorce from husband Duane Martin on Thursday. The pair separated in December of 2016 after two decades of marriage. Tisha has two children with Duane, 8 and 16-year-old sons. According to court documents, Tisha is asking for spousal support and split legal and physical custody of the children. She commented on the situation: "After 27 years of being together and two amazing children, it pains me to announce that I've filed for divorce. It's an emotional time and I graciously ask for privacy for me, our children and the rest of our family."

See 'Martin' Star Tisha Campbell-Martin Asks for Spousal Support in Divorce, TMZ, February 23, 2018.

February 23, 2018 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Television | Permalink | Comments (0)