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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

The Morning Line

I wrote Paul Daugherty’s TML Blog again on Friday. I did a mid-year review of the sports world. I hope you like it.

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit:  Kareem Elgazzar for Cincinnati Enquirer

License:  Fair Use/Education (from linked article)

Number One With a Bullett

Picking up the Casey Kasem saga five years after his death.  When we last left the beloved host of American Top 40 and the voice of Shaggy on Scooby-Doo, his second wife had sent his body to Norway for burial ostensibly because “Norway symbolizes peace and looks like heaven.”  She had previously claimed to have buried him there because she had ancestral ties to Norway.  

Why is this still in the news?  Kasem’s daughter, Kerri, is trying to exhume his body and return it to LA for burial.  Last year, his widow claimed that a private investigator proved that his children had caused his death.  After the police cleared them, his daughter now maintains that the widow abused him prior to his death.  His daughter has created a foundation to pass legislation in multiple states to stop elder abuse.

Planning points?  None.  Observations?  I will keep them brief.

1.  The disharmony between daughters and their step-moms is boundless.  Perhaps Kasem’s daughter could join forces with Tom Petty’s daughter to create a large foundation to vent their hatred towards their fathers’ second wives under the guise of something.

2.  The widow and daughter should stop pointing fingers at each other and realize that an 82 year old man long suffering from Parkinson’s Disease and Body Lewy Dementia had a short life expectancy and likely died of natural causes.  Per Howard Jones, no one is to blame.

3.  Related to the prior point, but with a more contemporary musical reference, both the daughter and widow should heed the advice in a Top 5 song the year of Kasem’s death and “Let It Go.”

Hat tip:  Debbe Levin for forwarding a podcast about this.

 

 

Photo Credit:  Jean Kasem

License:  Fair Use/Education (from linked article)

Pirate (and Scoundrel) By Any Other Name

There has been a dearth of newsworthy estate planning news recently, save the step-kids hate step-mom variety, so the Hugh Culverhouse Jr. and Alabama Law School imbroglio sent me down a rabbit hole which I am prone to.  For reference sake, Culverhouse, Jr. pledged $26 million last year to the University of Alabama Law School if they named it in his honor.  The law school returned the entire sum last week after Culverhouse, Jr. encouraged a boycott of the state of Alabama due to its recent anti-abortion legislation.  We are not here to discuss that.

Culverhouse, Jr. is the son of the first owner of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  He, his sister, and his mother were estranged from his father at the time of his father’s death in 1994.   Culverhouse, Sr. was notorious for operating his NFL team to maximize the profits while not caring how they fared on the field, which was usually abysmally.  Prior to his death, he told his wife that he was on the verge of bankruptcy and convinced her to sign a post-nuptial agreement which promised her $5 million, a $2 million condo, and her jewelry worth $2 million. After his death, the Bucs were sold for a then record $192 million while Culverhouse’s estate was estimated to be worth $340 million.   His widow filed multiple lawsuits regarding the post-nuptial agreement and the administration of his estate. She eventually settled for $34 million plus the right to control the donation of $10 million to various charities. 

Whew.  So much to unpack, but let’s be brief.

1.  Post-nuptial agreements are not valid in Ohio because Ohio prohibits spouses from contracting with each other.  Ohio’s position is a minority one

2.  Even with the settlement, Mrs. Culverhouse sold herself short settling for a fraction of her husband’s net worth.

3.  Sadly for Bengals fans, Mike Brown adopted the Culverhouse play book of ineptly running a football franchise but maximizing profit. 

 

Photo credit:  St. Petersburg Times

License:  Fair Use/Education

Sister Is Doing It For Herself

When Aretha Franklin died last August, she was reported to have died without a will.  The administration of her estate proceeded accordingly.  This week her lawyer of 40 years said that her family had found three handwritten wills, two from 2010 and one from 2014, in her house.  The 2010 wills were in a locked cabinet while the 2014 will was in a spiral notebook under a couch cushion.  The wills look like gibberish at first glance.  A court will determine their validity in June.

Several points:

1.  Michigan law provides that wills should be signed in the presence of two witnesses (same as Ohio).

2.  Michigan allows for holographic (i.e. handwritten) wills if it is certain the writing is intended to be the person’s will and it is dated. 

3.  Writing in a spiral notebook under a couch cushion rarely looks to be the final thoughts regarding the disposition of one’s assets even if dated.

4.  If someone has millions of dollars and millions more in expected music royalties, she should pay a lawyer to prepare a properly drafted will and trust and let the attorney keep it so there is no posthumous doubt about her wishes.  Get it right.

 

Photo Credit:  Mary Altaffer for AP

License:  Fair Use/Education (from linked article)

 

The Longshot

Comedian Tim Conway died today. He started his career on “McHale’s Navy” and was best known for his role on “The Carol Burnett Show.” During the last year of his life, his daughter from his first marriage squabbled with his second wife of 35 years over his medical care. The daughter sought to be appointed conservator (i.e. guardian) of him even though Conway had executed a health care power of attorney designating his wife as his health care decision maker. The daughter’s petition was denied and eventually the wife was designated as the conservator. The daughter said she would continue to be an advocate for children seeking visitation denied by a step-parent.

Several somewhat redundant points:

1. Because Conway had executed a financial power of attorney and health care power of attorney in favor of his wife, a conservatorship was unnecessary because those documents determined his wishes.

2. It is bananas that animosity between a child and step-mother does not subside after 35 years of marriage.

3. The daughter’s declaration of victory and promise of advocacy after having no legal basis for her position and then being thwarted by the court is Trumpian.

Photo Credit:  Fox News video

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.