Carrie Fisher: Some Early Thoughts on Her Estate

May the Force be with you Carrie – you were one of the brightest stars.

The entertainment world lost an iconic legend today. Carrie Fisher, best known for her role as Princess Leia Organa in the Star Wars films, passed away this morning after suffering a heart attack on December 23, 2016, while on a flight from London to Los Angeles. In addition to her Star Wars role, Ms. Fisher starred in many other films, and also authored several books, plays, and screen plays. She recently published her autobiography, The Princess Diarist.

From a legal perspective, it is far too early to analyze Ms. Fisher’s estate to any degree. However, one can make a number of observations.

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Win Olympic Gold – And Pay for It

Every time the Olympics come around, there’s dozens of articles and posts about how Olympic medals are subject to income tax. The IRS considers all prize winnings, such as gambling or game show prizes, to be income and thus taxable. Olympic medals get lumped into this group (as do the cash bonuses they come with). Luckily for the athletes, their medals are valued at the time they are earned, essentially the value of the materials. A gold medal from Rio is estimated to be worth $564, a silver medal is estimated at $305, and a bronze medal has little intrinsic value. Since Olympic medalists generally treat their sport as a profession the value of the medal and related bonuses are likely to be offset with a deduction for the significant expenses that most athletes incur.

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Bitcoin – Is It Really Money?

Recently, a Florida judge dismissed a money laundering charge against a man who sold $2,000 worth of bitcoin to an undercover agent who claimed he was using the bitcoin to purchase stolen credit card numbers. The judge held that bitcoin is not money and therefore it does not fall within Florida’s money laundering statute. While leaving the door wide open for the Florida legislature to regulate bitcoin and other virtual currency, the judge says that trying to regulate bitcoin using a statutory scheme regulating money is “like fitting a square peg in a round hole.”

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The Estate of Prince – Let’s Go Crazy!

Early reports tell us that the late musician Prince died without a will. Therefore, Minnesota “intestacy” statutes (i.e. statutes govern estates of decedents dying without a will) are going to control the administration of Prince’s estate. In a legal petition filed on April 26, 2016, by Prince’s sister, Tyka Nelson, Ms. Nelson stated that she did not know of the existence of a will signed by Prince. Because of this, no person currently has the legal right to act on behalf of his estate.

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Oregon Secretary of State Issues “Scam Alert”

Last week, Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown issued a “Scam Alert” relating to deceptive mailings received by a number of Oregon businesses. The deceptive mailings are entitled “Compliance Filing Center – Annual Minutes Compliance Notice,” and include an invoice for the recipient business to pay $150.00. In addition, several clients of our firm have […]

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Tax-Free Transfers to Charity Renewed For IRA Owners 70½ or Older; Rollovers in January 2013 Can Still Count For 2012

Certain owners of individual retirement arrangements (IRAs) have a limited time to make tax-free transfers to eligible charities and have them count for tax-year 2012, the Internal Revenue Service said today. IRA owners age 70½ or older have until Thursday, Jan. 31 to make a direct transfer, or alternatively, if they received IRA distributions during […]

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Dance Partners On The Fiscal Cliff

“I want everyone to know that I’m willing to get this done, but I need a dance partner.” -Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in a Senate Floor Speech, December 30, 2012 In a flurry of activity around the New Year’s holiday, Congress in part averted the much touted “Fiscal Cliff” – the series of expiring […]

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