Posts by Brian Berman

Brian Berman is an associate in Greenberg Glusker’s Family/Strategic Wealth Planning Group. Mr. Berman counsels high net worth individuals and families on issues involving tax planning, wealth transfer, business succession, non-profit organizations and post-death trust administration.



And the Oscar Goes to…the Highest Bidder!

[Ed. Note: Law Law Land's non-calendar-compliant Oscar week continues, as Brian Berman returns to explore the fates of all of those little Oscar statuettes that were handed out during last night's show.]

Los Angeles was lively over the weekend as Hollywood’s finest took the stage at the 83rd Academy Awards. Hollywood’s best, brightest, and most recognizable are always out in force for Oscar weekend. But perhaps no figure shines brighter than Oscar himself (although it’s not actually fair fight, as he is gold-plated).

Standing tall at 13 ½ inches and weighing in at 8 ½ pounds (that’s just over 0.6 stones for our British friends), Oscar’s gold-plated metal figure is recognized the world over. As with any Hollywood star, “Oscar” is just a stage name. Oscar’s real name is the “Academy Award of Merit.” Also, Oscar is technically a “statuette,” not a statue. And for last night’s winners, he might also be their new best friend.

But what if a winner wanted to get rid of his or her Oscar? Maybe he or she needs to raise a little extra money to pay those Ferrari lease payments and Dom Perignon bar tabs. Maybe he or she wants to give a friend or family member a token of his or her love. Or maybe he or she is just weirded out by a naked knight staring at him or her.

It is hard to imagine anyone getting rid of an Oscar, but, for argument’s sake, let’s say that someone wanted to. Could he or she do that? Continue reading the full story . . . »



Hailee Steinfeld Owns Hollywood…But Who Owns Hailee Steinfeld?

[Ed. Note: Today's post opens up our week of Oscar coverage. On a Friday. Who are you to judge our calendar-related choices? Drop by next week for more posts addressing all the burning, tangentially Oscar-related questions you probably never thought to ask!]

At 14 years of age, Hailee Steinfeld is this year’s youngest Oscar nominee, receiving the nod for Best Supporting Actress for her role asMattie Ross in the Coen Brothers’ adaptation of True Grit. With her huge role and Oscar recognition, it appears as if young Hailee owns Hollywood at the moment. But who owns Hailee?

Child celebrities have long taken the world by storm, and while their personalities (and, sometimes, their egos) can seem larger than life, we often forget that they are still just children. As such, they are not masters of their own domain. Justin Bieber may be able to make young girls the world over cry on command, but just like every other child in America, the Biebster needed his mom’s permission before cutting off his iconic mop.

The age of majority in most U.S. states is 18. Until then, kiddies, mommy and daddy functionally own you. They control where you live, where you go to school, who you can hang out with and pretty much every other aspect of your life. On rare occasions, children become “emancipated minors,” meaning they break hold from parental bondage, usually by getting married, joining the armed forces, or going to court to ask for their freedom. Until you turn 18 or emancipate yourself, however, your parents control whether or not you can work, including acting and singing. And that has significant implications for child stars like Hailee Steinfeld. Continue reading the full story . . . »



Divorce Used To Be So Softcore

Congress is set to vote on middle-class tax cuts. President Obama is pushing to extend a nuclear arms treaty with Russia. And yet, stories about a wave of recent celebrity divorces continue to take a lion’s share of the headlines. After all, who can think about nuclear arms treaties when it’s over for Eva and Tony? Yes, you heard it here last: Desperate (Ex-)Housewife Eva Longoria Parker and her Spurs star husband Tony Parker are getting divorced. They join the ranks ofChristina Aguilera and Jordan Bratman, Mel Gibson and Oksana Grigorieva, and Kate Winslet and Sam Mendes, in what can only be considered a dark time for Hollywood and a boon for Hollywood divorce lawyers. Personally, I don’t really care. Although divorce is generally sad (or happy depending on how bad the marriage is), I don’t know these people. I seem to be in the minority, though, as many spectators seem to get as emotionally involved as the divorcing couple itself. Newspapers and websites everywhere are filled with stories of how Longoria filed for divorce amidst rumors of Tony’s infidelity.

Longoria’s divorce papers cited “irreconcilable differences.” This is a common ground for divorce nowadays, serving as a generalized “this just ain’t working” reason for ending a marriage. It wasn’t always so easy to call it quits. In the old days, you had to resort tobeheadings or breaking away with your own new religion in order to part ways. Even in the United States, it was fairly difficult to get a divorce for many decades. The modern concept of “no-fault” divorce — the notion that there doesn’t need to be a “wrong” by either the husband or the wife in order for the marriage to dissolve — took some time to develop. Continue reading the full story . . . »