Thursday, April 09, 2015

Another estate planning novelty from Robin Williams

Coming soon to Merrill Anderson's Investment and Trust Newsletter, "The Michael Jackson Problem, and the Robin Williams Solution."

Jackson's estate gave his his publicity rights only a nominal value, and the IRS valued those rights at hundreds of millions of dollars. The two side are currently battling in the Tax Court over $500 million in additional estate taxes and $200 million in penalties.

Perhaps that was the inspiration for an unusual element of Robin Williams' trust concerning the commercial use of his likeness.  First, such use is sharply constrained for the next 25 years.  That will dramatically reduce the theoretical value of his publicity rights.  More importantly, those rights pass to a charity.  No matter what value the IRS assigns to those rights, there will be a fully offsetting charitable deduction for them.

The Hollywood Reporter has the story, and suggests that this could be the wave of the future.

1 comment:

JLM said...

We look forward to the newsletter article. On the downside, the Williams story reminds us that the provisions of living trusts don't necessarily remain private.