BlogRead the Latest News

 

Black Mamba Trust

This is not about trusting a black mamba. In fact, when we were in Zambia last year, we were advised not to walk to our cabin by ourselves because of the presence of black mambas (and hippos). I was skittish and hyper-aware the entire time.

When Kobe Bryant, aka the Black Mamba, died in January he left a trust for the benefit of his widow, Vanessa, and their daughters. The trust was last amended before the birth of his youngest daughter, Capri, who is not mentioned as a beneficiary. His widow has petitioned the LA Superior Court to add Capri as a beneficiary of the trust.

Several brief points:

1. When drafting a trust, I usually refer to “children” so clients do not have to amend their trusts when they have additional children. The exception is when there is the possibility of illegitimate children who should be excluded.

2. Kobe created his trust in 2003 and had amended it when each daughter was born, except for his youngest. Apparently, it is easy to get distracted and waste time when retired.

3. Kudos to Vanessa. Usually, people are suing to exclude people from a trust rather than include them.

Photo credit:  Vanessa Bryant/Instagram

License:  Fair Use/Education (from linked article)

Hard Work Pays Off

 
Juice WRLD was a 21 year old rapper who died late last year from an opioid overdose. He allegedly swallowed several Percocet pills to hide them from police who were waiting to search his private plane for drugs and guns upon landing in Chicago.
 
His mother has asked to be appointed as his estate representative. The estate was recently revealed to be worth $3.2 million. His assets consist of a Miami condo worth $1.5 million, a bank account valued at $1 million, and personal property (mostly watches and jewelry) worth $450K. TMZ reported that he might have additional assets in a trust
 
Several quick points:
 
1. Mr. WRLD’s estate will likely exceed what is initially reported because the listed assets do not include his music royalties.
 
2. His estate will increase in size because the single he recorded with Eminem and which was released posthumously (for him) hit Number 3 on the US music charts and went Number One in the UK (apologies for channeling Casey Kasem).
 
3. It is nice that TMZ finally acknowledged that celebrities might have assets in a trust which are not included in probate filings, but in this case that is misplaced. If a man did not have a will (his mom is asking to be appointed as administrator, she is not designated as executrix in his will), he did not have a trust.
 
4. Unsurprisingly, like most Millenials and Gen Z-ers, Mr. WRLD apparently did not own any stocks or bonds. Consider his heirs fortuitous in these turbulent markets.
 
Photo Credit:  @JustinMyView/R1 Digital
License:  Fair Use/Education
 
 

Coronavirus Is Not the Only Threat to the Elderly

 

Photo Credit:  WuMo Comic Strip (Wulff and Morganthaler)

License:  Fair Use/Education

Knives Out

The film “Knives Out” is an award nominated dark comedy written by Rian Johnson, who is best (and actually only) known as the writer and director of “The Last Jedi”, the 8th installment of the “Star Wars” saga. The film involves the death of the patriarch of a family, his will, and the machinations of his family to obtain his estate. It also involves the Hercule Poirot-esque detective played by Daniel Craig investigating the death.

Without revealing any significant plot parts, I noticed a few estate planning points:

1. Will readings are entirely a creative device for Hollywood. I have never been part of one in 30+ years of practice.

2. The grandchildren were part of the angry family pining for an inheritance, but rarely would grandchildren inherit a meaningful sum from their grandparent unless their own parent were deceased.

3. The film did correctly reference the Slayer Statute.

4.Channeling my Gene Siskel, skinny, late middle-aged, bald man critic mode – if you are looking for something to stream, “Knives Out” is much more entertaining than the multitude of sequels and re-makes released by Hollywood last year.

Photo Credit (Unknown, but happy to give credit)

License:  Fair Use/Education (from linked article)

TML Again

I wrote Paul Daugherty’s The Morning Line blog for the Cincinnati Enquirer again today. I riffed on the arrogance of the Bengals, the over-achieving of UC hoops, the inanity of the Presidential primary process, and a brief trip report about our month in Phoenix. I hope you enjoy it.it:  

 

 

 

Photo Credit:  Kareen Elgazzar for Cincinnati Enquirer

License:  Fair Use/Education (from linked article written by me)

21st Century Mourning (and Immortality)

 

Credit:  WuMo by Wulff & Morgenthaler

License:  Fair Use/Education

Lust for Charities

I am back after a two month hiatus fostered by writing for other projects, being slammed at work, re-locating our lives to Phoenix for five weeks, and suffering a dearth of worthwhile news in the celebrity estate planning area. Who knew that the death of a 103 year Hollywood icon would snap the streak?

Media outlets, led by the Daily Mirror from London, are reporting that the recently deceased Kirk Douglas left $50 million of his $61 million fortune to charity. Specifically, he left the money to the Douglas Foundation which he and his 100 year old widow, founded in 1964. All accounts seem flummoxed by where he left the remaining $11 million of his estate. The same reports want to scandalize the fact that he did not leave any money to his famous son, Michael Douglas. No links to his actual will have appeared on line yet.

Several illuminating points:

1. California is a community property state which means that Douglas’ widow, Anne, likely has an estate also worth $61 million.

2. In 2020, an individual may leave $11.6 million free of estate taxes to children or other individuals. It is not a coincidence that $11 million is the amount of funds that the reporters cannot account for. Those funds will likely fund a trust for his wife and two sons.

3. It is extremely rare to leave funds to a child while a spouse is living.

4. Michael Douglas is reportedly worth $300 million which is more than he can spend in his remaining years. It does not make sense to leave any funds to an independently wealthy 75 year old cancer survivor who will pay estate taxes on 40% of the inherited assets at the time of his death.

5. Journalism is not hard, but it certainly is lazy when journalists are afraid to have reliable sources and to ask questions about concepts with which they are unfamiliar.

Photo Credit:  Catherine Zeta Jones Instagram

License:  Fair Use/Education (from linked article)

Happy New Year

Wishing everyone an incredible 2020.

Merry Christmas

Our family wishes you and your family a terrific Christmas.

The Morning Line – Year End Awards

I guest wrote Paul Daugherty’s TML blog for the Cincinnati Enquirer again yesterday. I handed out some year end “awards” while being critical of the Bengals and their coach. I hope you enjoy it.

Bye Bye Love

It was recently reported that Ric Ocasek, lead singer of The Cars, left his estranged wife, Paulina Porizkova, out of his will which he executed several weeks before his death. The former Sports Illustrated swimsuit model left her much older husband a year before she found him dead in his townhouse when bringing him coffee while he was recovering from surgery. Specifically, Ocasek’s will provided that he did not want Porizkova to inherit even the elective share because she had abandoned him. Ocasek’s probate estate consists of $5 million of royalties and $100K of personal property.

Several points:

1. Odds are that Ocasek’s estate consists of more than $5 million because he likely had financial assets and real estate titled in a trust prior to his death.

2. Even if omitted from a will, spouses may elect to receive a portion of the estate which is usually 1/3.

3. In Ohio, spouses may only elect against the assets passing through probate. In NY, spouses may elect to take 1/3 of all assets, including those in a trust and others passing outside probate.

4. You might think I am cynical, but I find it odd that a woman who left her husband uses the Instagram hashtag #loveneverdies.

Photo Credit:  Tammie Arroyo/AFF-USA.COM / MEGA

License:  Fair Use/Education (from linked article)

Taken to the Bath

Finally, there is some estate planning news to write about. Gloria Cary was an American woman who was the second wife of the eccentric eighth Earl of Bathurst. When the Earl died in 2011, he left his home and surrounding real estate, valued at $17 million, to his son, and the rest of his estate to his widow.

Typically, his widow and son did not get along even though the couple had been married for more than 30 years. After the Earl’s death, the widow was forced to vacate the family home inherited by the son. She sued for permission to visit the home to view the family’s collection of heirlooms, but she was denied by her step-son.

When Gloria died last year, she left the bulk of her $41 million fortune to two interior designers while omitting her step-son entirely.

A few quick observations:

1. At least the son inherited a significant amount upon the death of his father and was not disinherited entirely.

2. Inheriting an English estate is a double edged sword because the maintenance costs can be stratospheric.

3. If the Earl of Bathurst (“Barmy Bathurst”) wanted to ensure his son received some of his fortune, he should have created a trust to benefit his wife with the remainder going to his son. Although a trust might have been a step too far for an eccentric.

4. Of course, if the son wanted to inherit more than the house, he should have acquiesced to his step-mom’s request to occasionally visit and wander around the property.

Photo credit:  compendium of pics from Daily Mail

License:  Fair Use/Education (from linked article)

One More Sports Post

Bill Cunningham of WLW interviewed me Monday about the blog post I wrote for The Cincinnati Enquirer on Friday. It was incredibly fun.

Episode is here (my part is towards the end at the 88 minute mark).

 

TML – The Bengals Edition

I guest wrote Paul Daugherty’s The Morning Line Blog on Friday. I focused on the Bengals and a possible solution for their ills. I also gave a brief trip report for our South Africa trip.

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit:  Cincinnati Enquirer

License:  From article I wrote 🙂

Back In Town

Janice and I were in South Africa and Zambia for 10 days on one of our best trips ever. We visited Cape Town and the surrounding area, spent three nights on a safari, and visited Victoria Falls and its Devil’s Pool. Pic is from hike up Table Mountain in Cape Town. We cannot recommend the trip enough.

Self Care

Mac Miller is a rapper whose music I am unfamiliar with, but whom my children have seen in concert. He died last year of a drug overdose involving fentanyl. Surprisingly, he left behind a will and a trust. Several weeks ago, we learned that his estate was valued at $11.3 million and that he left various personal items to his friends (think laptops, guitars, and jewelry) and his financial assets of $5 million and musical royalties and master recordings valued at $6.5 million to his family.

Several points:

1. Kudos to Mr. Miller for being the rare 26 year old to prepare a will and trust.

2. His estate will likely not have to pay any federal estate taxes because administration expenses (and perhaps state estate taxes) will reduce the net value below the $11.2 million in effect last year.

3. For an artist with a short career with a limited reach and the decline of physical media, a value of $5 million for the master recordings seems optimistic.

Photo Credit:  Mac Miller Instagram

License:  Fair Use/Education

Been Busy Part Two

Had lunch in Greenville yesterday with Steve Gruber, my high school cross country and track coach. His coaching and advice were an important part of my high school years and later running experience. It was great to catch up with him and see how he has not aged.

Post to follow.

Been Busy Part 1

Apologies for not posting much recently. The celebrity estate planning news world has been incredibly quiet except for the court hearing about Britney Spears’ conservatorship and continued fighting about who will administer Aretha Franklin’s estate. Also, I have been out of town nearly every weekend. Here is a pic from last weekend’s bike trip to Asheville with my cycling/skiing buddies. Estate planning post to follow.

Mile High Litigation

Pat Bowlen was the long time owner of the Denver Broncos. He died this past June of Alzheimer’s Disease. He created a trust in 2009 to hold and operate the Broncos.  In 2013, he stepped away from the team and turned control of it to the three trustees.

The trust provides that the trustees will pick one of his 7 children to operate the team. The trustees are reported to have selected his 29 year old daughter, Brittany. Meanwhile, his two daughters from his first marriage have filed suit challenging his competency to execute a trust in 2009 when he was allegedly exhibiting signs of Alzheimer’s in 2006. The trust has a no contest provision which would cause the eldest daughters to lose their entire share of the trust by contesting it.

Several points:

1. Bowlen could have been suffering from Alzheimer’s while still having the required capacity to sign a will and trust i.e. know his assets, his heirs, and what his planning accomplishes.

2. Call it a hunch, but if Bowlen was incapable of managing his affairs, the NFL would not have permitted him to run the Broncos until 2013.

3. It is hardly a news flash that a trust dispute pits children from a first marriage against children from the second marriage.

4. If Bowlen’s daughters wish to show their father was incompetent in 2009, they should point to the drafting of Tim Tebow in the first round by the Broncos.

Photo Credit:  Joe Amon for the Denver Post

License:  Fair Use/Education (from linked article)  

Pedophile Will

So my blog prognostication abilities continue to be abysmal. In addition to the coroner determining that Jeffrey Epstein hung himself, he actually prepared a will two days before he died.

Epstein’s will left everything to a trust he created the same day as his will. Of course, the trust beneficiaries and its terms are private. His will designates two long time employees as co-executors of his estate and provided that they would each receive $250K for serving in that capacity. Meanwhile, an attorney for one of the women suing Epstein claims that he was an evil genius for filing the estate in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Several quick points:

1. Epstein’s estate is being probated in the US Virgin Islands because that is where he was considered a resident. Estates are probated in the decedent’s state of domicile.

2. The NY Post’s expert who said the will was filed in the Virgin Islands due to privacy reasons and the attorney suing Epstein on behalf of his alleged victims who thinks the US Virgin Islands filings are pure evil are fools and need to brush up on probate law.

3. It is interesting that the executors have agreed to fill that role for $250K. The commissions for executors are set by statute. Typically, they would receive a percentage of the estate which would be at least 1% or $5.7 million in this matter.

4. The reporting by the NY Post and the NYT has been error filled on this matter. I expect shoddy reporting from them on matters involving President Trump and from the Cincinnati Enquirer, but not from the NYT on a story like this.

Photo Credit:  NY Post  Composite

License:  Fair Use/Education (from linked article)

 

Contact Me

All Posts By Jay Brinker

I am an attorney located in Cincinnati, Ohio who practices in the areas of estate planning, probate, asset protection, and small business advice. I make a difficult and bewildering process as simple as possible. Most importantly, I provide "more for less" for my clients.