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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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 First to Pass RUFADAA – Allowing Legal Access to Your Digital Assets

SYK has been advising our clients, friends and colleagues about managing Digital Assets (your online accounts) for many years, lamenting the fact that the internet was outrunning the law. We’ve been writing about it, testifying before legislators, speaking at seminars and encouraging everyone to prepare a VAIL – Virtual Asset Instruction Letter.

We are happy to report that there is new light on the issue. Oregon has just become the first state in the union to pass RUFADAA: The Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Accounts Act. Oregon Senate Bill 1554 was signed by the Governor yesterday and will become effective January 1, 2017.

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Changing Your Estate Plan: Don’t Cut Up Your Money For The Last Laugh

Thinking about changing your estate plan? Have you ever thought about disinheriting your children? It’s one thing to think about it, but to actually attempt it is another thing entirely. An Australian granny presumably attempted to disinherit her children, but with no avail. Before passing away, the 85-year old cut up nearly a million euros […]

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