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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)

 

Oh Me, Oh My

As I have written previously, when Aretha Franklin died last August, she was presumed to have died intestate (without a will). Her niece, Sabrina Owens, was then designated as the estate administrator. Since then, three handwritten documents purporting to be her will(s) have surfaced. Franklin’s youngest son, Kecalf Franklin, has asked the probate court to be appointed as representative of the estate. One of his brothers supports him in this request while two others oppose him. The filing of one brother said that Kecalf has never demonstrated the ability or willingness to support himself and lacks the financial knowledge to serve as executor. After a court hearing last week, for now, the niece remains in control of the estate with decisions subject to court approval.

Two points:

1, Kecalf does not seem qualified to serve as executor so keeping him out of the process seems good for now.

2. Gosh. If someone has pancreatic cancer, prepare a will. Time is of the essence.

Sir Jeff

While we wait for the impending China crackdown in Hong Kong, the Jeffrey Epstein death remains the other big news topic. Epstein was not married nor did he have any alleged children. It is not known if he left a will or other estate planning documents.

Epstein was survived by his younger brother, Mark, who has two children. Epstein owned houses in NYC, Palm Beach, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. His net worth is reported to be $500 million although no one knows for certain nor the source of the wealth.

A few brief points:

1. Epstein supposedly made his money by assisting his clients with the minutiae of tax planning and other life details so it is hard to believe he did not leave a will and trust.

2. It is way too early to know his actual net worth and what claims will be brought against his estate.

3. For the sake of his heirs, they should hope that he was legally a resident of Florida or the U.S. Virgin Islands, neither of which has an estate tax, rather than New York which would tax his estate at a rate of 16%.

4. These complex estate issues will likely be determined sooner than the circumstances surrounding his death.

5. There might be some truth to the line “the person most surprised by the suicide of Jeffrey Epstein was Jeffrey Epstein.”

Photo Credit:  Unknown (from slideshow from linked article)

License:  Fair Use/Education (from linked article)

Century Ride

Rode 104 miles today with Elliot Beraha and Alan Henning. Pic is from halfway point in Yellow Springs. We looked worse for the effort at the end.   😀 

Quick PSA

As college students head back to college, I wanted to remind parents that their college bound children should have a set of documents in place so the parents can access their medical info and make medical decisions if something terrible were to happen to their student. Once the child is 18, the child is in charge of their own decisions and hospitals do not automatically defer to the parents’ decisions.

Students should have a health care power of attorney, HIPAA release, living will, and financial power of attorney. I prepare the set of documents for a reduced fee of $150.

Parents are on their own in trying to access their child’s grades and tuition bills.

Pic is from Jack’s first day at OSU last year.

Bad Boy

Steve Bing is an American movie producer and “businessman” who is the father of Elizabeth Hurley’s son, Damian. He is also the father of Kira Kerkorian Bing, his daughter with former pro tennis player, Lisa Bonder. Bonder had duped her husband, billionaire Kirk Kekorian into thinking he was the biological father of Kira. Bing reportedly inherited nearly $600 million at the age of 18 from his grandfather’s trust. He dropped out of Stanford shortly thereafter.

Bing and his out of wedlock children are in the news this week because Bing’s father, Peter Bing, went to court to attempt to exclude them from inheriting from a multi-millionaire dollar trust he created in 1980 for his then unborn grandchildren. The elder Bing and his trustee contend that it was not his intent for out of wedlock grandchildren to inherit from the trust. He claimed that he had never met his grandchildren and that Steve had no relationship with them. The elder Bing was likely prodded into the lawsuit by his daughter who has her own two children who would be the only trust beneficiaries if Steve Bing’s children were excluded.

Several points, some of them obvious:

1. Steve Bing is clearly a cad.

2. Lisa Bonder was duplicitous.

3. Steve Bing’s sister is duplicitous and manipulative.

4. I am not a fan of creating trusts for grandchildren when it is uncertain how the children will be when they mature.

5. The funds in this trust are more important to Steve Bing’s children than they are to his sister’s children because it is unlikely his children will inherit from him while she likely had $600 million of her own funds to leave to her children some day.

6. Problems of the .o1 percent.

Photo Credit:  Estee Lauder

License:  Free Use/Education (from linked article)

Best Coast?

Just back from a long weekend in Seattle and Oregon with Janice. We met winemaker, Jean-Nicolas Meo, and Jay Boberg, owners of Domaine Nicolas-Jay. Boberg is the founder of IRS Records (think REM, Fine Young Cannibals, and the Go-Gos among other acts on his label). Wine and music are geek heaven for me. Post to follow shortly.

Fake News

CNN news anchor, Anderson Cooper, is the son of Gloria Vanderbilt who died last month at the age of 95. She in turn was the great-great-granddaughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt. She left all of her estate to Cooper save for her $1.2 million Manhattan co-op which she left to her son, Stan Stokowski.

Gloria Vanderbilt inherited a trust fund worth $35 million in today’s dollars when she turned 21. She also rode the wave of the designer jeans trend in the late 1970’s with her eponymous fashion which was worth $100 million at one time. Initial reports soon after her death speculated that she was worth $200 million. Probate Court filings have since revealed that she only owned her co-op and $1.5 million.

Several points, none too shocking:

1. The data about her net worth would be private if Vanderbilt had used a funded trust for her estate planning.

2. Rare is the fortune that lasts five generations before it is dissipated.

3. Four divorces, dedication to philanthropy, advisors who embezzle, and living into one’s 90s deplete one’s assets.

4. An incredibly gifted plastic surgeon will also deplete assets.

 

Photo Credit:  Unknown

License:  Fair Use/Education

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.