Wednesday, January 10, 2018

It’s Not Right But It’s Okay

The estate of Whitney Houston settled its dispute with the IRS over outstanding estate taxes.  The IRS had contended that the valuation of Houston’s back catalog and image and likeness was undervalued by $22 million resulting in $11 million of additional taxes.  The settlement was for $2 million.  Oddly, or perhaps not given the state of journalism in 2017, the focus of most articles was on the value of her image and likeness but the IRS and the estate differed on that valuation by only $200K.

A few small points:

1.  Since the death of Michael Jackson, the IRS has been taxing the image and likeness of dead celebrities with the value based on expected licensing revenues in the future.

2.  Cool fact - Robin Williams said that his likeness cannot be used for 40 years after his death rendering its value worthless.

3.  In the age of streaming music, the longer the estate held out the less valuable the back catalog of albums became.

4.  This was purely a principled, but unemotional, victory for the estate.  Houston’s daughter died nearly 3 years ago and Houston was divorced.  Any estate tax savings will benefit her mother and her brothers.

Photo Credit: Asterio Tecson/Flickr and Wikimedia Commons
License:  Fair Use/Education

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Not About the Sport Coats

Craig Sager was a beloved basketball reporter who died last year from cancer.  He was known for his colorful sport coats and bantering with Gregg Popovich, coach of the Spurs.  He was divorced and re-married at the time of his death with children from both wives.  His will is being probated in Georgia.  It reportedly left everything to his second wife, Stacy. 

His son from his first marriage tweeted yesterday that he was being summoned to court by a sheriff to prevent him from contesting the will even though he was not interested in contesting in the first place.  His sister, Kacy, defended her brother while also flaming her step-mother and tweeted a list of grievances.  Seeing a moment in the sun, the former girlfriend of the son felt compelled to jump into the fray and call the step-mother a POS in typical coarse social media parlance. 

Several points:

1.  Georgia is similar to Ohio in that when a will is admitted to probate all of the heirs at law (spouse and children) plus all of the will beneficiaries are required to receive notice of the probate proceedings via certified mail.

2.  The son from the first marriage and his sisters were simply receiving the legally required notice.

3.  Given the lapse between the date of death of Sager’s death and the date of this process, it is likely that most of his assets were in a trust and that a small account was titled only in his name and hence subject to the probate process.

4.  Sager might have excluded his children from his first marriage due to their hostility to his second wife and/or their over-reaction to legal events.

5.  Hostility to second wives can be avoided if they are age appropriate and their names do not rhyme with that of one’s daughters.     

Happy New Year

From Marco Island.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

TML Again

I guest wrote Paul Daugherty's TML blog on Friday. I covered the best and worst in Cincinnati sports this year, plus some other topics such as possible successors to Marvin Lewis. I hope you enjoy it.

Photo Credit: Cincinnati Enquirer/Sam Greene
License:  Fair Use/Education 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Ocean's 14

Rande Gerber, husband of Cindy Crawford, recently told a TV program that George Clooney gave $1 million to 14 of his long time buddies four years ago. Clooney invited his friends to his house for dinner and presented each of them with an expensive leather suitcase.
When the friends opened them, each found $1 million in $20 bills. Clooney told them he had appreciated their friendship and wanted to help those who were struggling. He also said he had paid their taxes on the gift. Gerber did not want to take the money, but Clooney said no one would get their money if Gerber did not take his.
Several points:
1. This generosity resulted in a gift tax of $3.0 million to Clooney. In 2013, gifts to an individual in excess of $14K and beyond the $5.25 million exemption were taxed at 35%.
2. Despite his statement about paying their taxes, Clooney was obligated to pay the gift tax - the donor is always liable for the gift tax owed.
3. Having won the lottery twice - marrying Cindy Crawford and selling his Casamigos Tequila brand for $700 million - Gerber donated his million to charity to keep his good karma flowing.

Photo Credit:  Reuters
License:  Fair Use/Education

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

I Don't Think I Love You

Limping to the end of the year while looking for celebrity news. Finally found some with respect to former teen heartthrob, David Cassidy, of Partridge Family fame. The will of the thrice divorced entertainer leaves his entire $150K estate to his son, Beau, from his third marriage. Cassidy specifically excluded his daughter from a previous relationship, actress Katie Cassidy, from the will. Meanwhile, a law firm which represented him has sued the estate for $100K of unpaid fees.

Several points:

1. Cassidy is free to leave his assets to whom he wishes - he is not obligated to leave them to his out of wedlock daughter.

2. The law firm should be paid from the estate before beneficiaries receive any distributions.

3. $150K estate after 50 years in show business? Divorce and drugs are expensive habits.

Photo Credit: - Respect for Katie Cassidy
License:  Fair Use/Education

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours.

Note:  And this is why I am behind on posting here.  :)